WHAT IS AN ALLERGY?
An allergy is a hypersensitive immune response to a foreign substance (pollen, dust, pet dander, particular foods) that either enters or comes into contact with the body.
In a normal person, the immune system ignores these substances. In an allergic person, the immune system mistakenly overreacts and tries to fight off these harmless substances; which can lead to allergy symptoms.
A person with a family history of allergies is much more likely to develop allergies themselves.
DID YOU KNOW:
17.6 Million Adults Suffer from Hay Fever Annually
6.6 Million Children Suffer from Hay Fever Annually
7.8 Million Children Report Respiratory Allergies Annually
1 in 5 Adults Report Allergy Symptoms Annually
55% Of All Adults Test Positive For at Least One Allergen
CHRONIC ALLERGIES ARE THE:
5th Leading Chronic Disease in the U.S.
3rd Leading Disease for Children Under 18 Years Old
Common Allergy Symptoms Include:
- Runny or Congested Nose
- Itchy or Watery Eyes
- Frequent Ear Infections
- Frequent Sinus Infections
- Sinus Headaches
- Nasal Polyps
- Conjunctivitis (irritated eyes)
- Muscle/Joint Pain
- Skin Rashes/Eczema
- Sleep Loss leading to Fatigue, Loss of Focus, Depression
- Respiratory effects including endless colds, chronic cough, recurrent bronchitis
Common Allergy Triggers Include:
It’s not necessarily the animal’s hair to which you are allergic. Most people are either allergic to the dander (dead skin cells) or a protein that is found in your pet’s saliva and urine.
Mold can cause reactions in allergic and non-allergic people. Mold spores reproduce when they come into contact with wet surfaces. Mold occurs most commonly around moisture leaks (especially in bathrooms, kitchens, and around refrigerators).
Dust Mites (Year-Round)
Dust Mites can occur in any dry dusty area and can cause significant allergy symptoms in allergic people. Dust mites can be found in carpeting, upholstery, bedding, and clothing.
Pollens are produced by virtually every plant that grows and can cause significant seasonal allergic reactions in allergic people. Grasses, trees, and weeds all pollinate at different times of the growing season and their pollen can travel up to 50 miles in a strong wind.
TREATING YOUR ALLERGIES
There are very few options for treating allergy symptoms:
Avoidance is the most practical way to reduce allergy symptoms. It seems like common sense, avoid the thing that you are allergic to; unfortunately, you can’t always control when you come into contact with some allergens.
Grass, tree and weed pollens can travel up to 50 miles
Dust mites can reproduce and live in ventilation ducts
Animal dander can stay in a house for up to 6 months
Given these factors, avoidance is not always the best solution.
Multiple types of allergy medications are available, but they all do the same thing. They are designed to temporarily relieve allergy symptoms. While these medications are a good option for people with very mild occasional allergies, they do not provide enough relief for people with moderate to severe allergy symptoms.
Immunotherapy is a process of desensitizing your immune system to the things to which you are allergic. As your body becomes less sensitive to the allergens, your symptom reacts less which produces fewer symptoms.
There are two types of immunotherapy:
- Subcutaneous (shots) – A shot of serum is given 2-3 times per week during the build-up phase (first 6 months) and once every 4 weeks during the maintenance phase (up to 2-3 years) after that. You will likely notice a significant reduction in symptoms in the first 2-3 months.
- Sublingual (drops) – A few drops of serum are placed under the tongue every day for 3-4 years. Drops are not quite as effective as allergy shots, but they are a great option in situations where a small needle is not well tolerated.