Allergy Muddlers in America
If you stash tissues like a squirrel stashes nuts, you’re not alone. Allergies affect millions of Americans every year - it’s one of the most common yet most overlooked conditions in the U.S.
Understanding Allergy Symptoms
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Itchy, watery eyes
Many allergens are airborne and come into direct contact with your eyes. That’s why over 80% of people with allergies experience itchy, watery, teary eyes.
When allergens enter your nose, the membrane swells and presses a fluid out of small blood vessels in your nasal passages – typically a thin, clear liquid.
Your body’s reaction to histamine includes itchiness and swelling inside your nose and throat. As a result, your brain tells your chest to contract and you start sneezing.
Itchy nose or throat
Itchy nasal passages are also a reaction to a lot of histamine in your system.
If your allergies include upper respiratory symptoms – sneezing, itchy and runny nose – your sinuses may become swollen and blocked.
Before your appointment, make a note of the what, when and where of your allergy symptoms so you can share this information with your doctor. This will help you work out an allergy management strategy together.
Scratch, puncture or prick test
A doctor or nurse places a drop of each potential allergen on your skin and then pricks your skin, allowing the allergen to enter. Fifteen minutes later you’ll be able to see how your skin reacts to each allergen.
A small amount of each potential allergen is injected just under your skin. Fifteen minutes later a doctor or nurse will take a look at your skin’s reaction.
An allergen is applied to a patch and then placed on your skin. After 48 hours you’ll go back to your doctor to see which allergens have affected you the most.
Allergy Blood Test (specific IgE or RAST)
A blood sample is taken to check for specific IgE (immunoglobulin E) antibodies. This can help your doctor see what allergens are responsible for your allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines relieve your symptoms by blocking the action of histamine in your system. They come in pill, liquid and nasal spray form, over the counter or by prescription.
Decongestants help relieve nasal and sinus congestion by shrinking swollen membranes. They’re often combined with an antihistamine.
Antihistamine Eye Drops
Over 80% of people with allergies have itchy eyes. Antihistamine eye drops are designed to help relieve these annoying symptoms.
Available by prescription, as a nasal spray, corticosteroids help to treat and prevent swelling of the nasal passages. They also relieve congestion and other nasal symptoms.
Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
A series of injections that are given by a healthcare professional over several years. Each contains a small amount of allergens to provoke an antibody response, reduce your sensitivity and increase your tolerance of the allergens.
What is it With Allergies and Sneezing?
Allergies or Cold?