What are allergy specialist called
In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible.
For example, if you own a food allergy, you should check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.
There are also several medicines available to help control symptoms of allergic reactions, including:
- decongestants – tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids that can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
- lotions and creams, such as moisturising creams (emollients) – these can reduce skin redness and itchiness
- antihistamines – these can be taken when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
- steroid medicines – sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets that can assist reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction
For some people with extremely severe allergies, a treatment called immunotherapy may be recommended.
This involves being exposed to the allergen in a controlled way over a number of years so your body gets used to it and does not react to it so severely.
Is it an allergy, sensitivity or intolerance?
Where a substance causes unpleasant symptoms, such as diarrhoea, but does not involve the immune system.
People with an intolerance to certain foods can typically eat a little quantity without having any problems.
Sheet final reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021
An allergic reaction may happen anywhere in the body but generally appears in the nose, eyes, lungs, lining of the stomach, sinuses, throat and skin. These are places where special immune system cells are stationed to fight off invaders that are inhaled, swallowed or come in contact with the skin.
Atopic and Contact Dermatitis/Hives/Skin Allergies
Atopic and contact dermatitis, eczema and hives are skin conditions that can be caused by allergens and other irritants.
Often the reaction may take hours or days to develop, as in the case of poison ivy. The most common allergic causes of rashes are medicines, insect stings, foods, animals and chemicals used at home or work. Allergies may be aggravated by emotional stress.
Asthma symptoms happen when airway muscle spasms block the flow of air to the lungs and/or the linings of the bronchial tubes become inflamed. Excess mucus may clog the airways. An asthma attack is characterized by labored or restricted breathing, a tight feeling in the chest, coughing and/or wheezing. Sometimes a chronic cough is the only symptom. Asthma trouble can cause only mild discomfort or it can cause life-threatening attacks in which breathing stops altogether.
The exaggeration of the normal effects of a substance.
For example, the caffeine in a cup of coffee may cause extreme symptoms, such as palpitations and trembling.
Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
Allergic rhinitis is a general term used to describe the allergic reactions that take put in the nose. Symptoms may include sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and itching of the nose, the eyes and/or the roof of the mouth. When this problem is triggered by pollens or outdoor molds, during the Spring, Summer or Drop, the condition is often called «hay fever.» When the problem is year-round, it might be caused by exposure to home dust mites, household pets, indoor molds or allergens at school or in the workplace.
A reaction produced by the body’s immune system when exposed to a normally harmless substance.
Many allergens that trigger allergic rhinitis are airborne, so you can’t always avoid them.
If your symptoms can’t be well-controlled by simply avoiding triggers, your allergist may recommend medications that reduce nasal congestion, sneezing, and an itchy and runny nose. They are available in numerous forms — oral tablets, liquid medication, nasal sprays and eyedrops. Some medications may own side effects, so discuss these treatments with your allergist so they can assist you live the life you want.
Decongestants assist relieve the stuffiness and pressure caused by swollen nasal tissue. They do not contain antihistamines, so they do not cause antihistaminic side effects.
They do not relieve other symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Oral decongestants are available as prescription and nonprescription medications and are often found in combination with antihistamines or other medications. It is not unusual for patients using decongestants to experience insomnia if they take the medication in the afternoon or evening. If this occurs, a dose reduction may be needed. At times, men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on decongestants. Patients using medications to manage emotional or behavioral problems should discuss this with their allergist before using decongestants.
Patients with high blood pressure or heart disease should check with their allergist before using. Pregnant patients should also check with their allergist before starting decongestants.
Nonprescription decongestant nasal sprays work within minutes and final for hours, but you should not use them for more than a few days at a time unless instructed by your allergist. Prolonged use can cause rhinitis medicamentosa, or rebound swelling of the nasal tissue. Stopping the use of the decongestant nasal spray will cure that swelling, provided that there is no underlying disorder.
Oral decongestants are found in numerous over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications, and may be the treatment of choice for nasal congestion.
They don’t cause rhinitis medicamentosa but need to be avoided by some patients with high blood pressure. If you own high blood pressure or heart problems, check with your allergist before using them.
Leukatriene pathway inhibitors
Leukotriene pathway inhibitors (montelukast, zafirlukast and zileuton) block the action of leukotriene, a substance in the body that can cause symptoms of allergic rhinitis. These drugs are also used to treat asthma.
Nonprescription saline nasal sprays will assist counteract symptoms such as dry nasal passages or thick nasal mucus.
Unlike decongestant nasal sprays, a saline nasal spray can be used as often as it is needed. Sometimes an allergist may recommend washing (douching) the nasal passage. There are numerous OTC delivery systems for saline rinses, including neti pots and saline rinse bottles.
Nasal cromolyn blocks the body’s release of allergy-causing substances. It does not work in every patients. The full dose is four times daily, and improvement of symptoms may take several weeks. Nasal cromolyn can assist prevent allergic nasal reactions if taken prior to an allergen exposure.
Nasal ipratropium bromide spray can assist reduce nasal drainage from allergic rhinitis or some forms of nonallergic rhinitis.
Intranasal corticosteroids are the single most effective drug class for treating allergic rhinitis.
They can significantly reduce nasal congestion as well as sneezing, itching and a runny nose.
Ask your allergist about whether these medications are appropriate and safe for you. These sprays are designed to avoid the side effects that may happen from steroids that are taken by mouth or injection. Take care not to spray the medication against the middle portion of the nose (the nasal septum). The most common side effects are local irritation and nasal bleeding. Some older preparations own been shown to own some effect on children’s growth; data about some newer steroids don’t indicate an effect on growth.
Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis.
These medications counter the effects of histamine, the irritating chemical released within your body when an allergic reaction takes put. Although other chemicals are involved, histamine is primarily responsible for causing the symptoms. Antihistamines are found in eyedrops, nasal sprays and, most commonly, oral tablets and syrup.
Antihistamines assist to relieve nasal allergy symptoms such as:
- Sneezing and an itchy, runny nose
- Eye itching, burning, tearing and redness
- Itchy skin, hives and eczema
There are dozens of antihistamines; some are available over the counter, while others require a prescription.
Patients reply to them in a wide variety of ways.
Generally, the newer (second-generation) products work well and produce only minor side effects. Some people discover that an antihistamine becomes less effective as the allergy season worsens or as their allergies change over time. If you discover that an antihistamine is becoming less effective, tell your allergist, who may recommend a diverse type or strength of antihistamine. If you own excessive nasal dryness or thick nasal mucus, consult an allergist before taking antihistamines. Contact your allergist for advice if an antihistamine causes drowsiness or other side effects.
Proper use: Short-acting antihistamines can be taken every four to six hours, while timed-release antihistamines are taken every 12 to 24 hours.
The short-acting antihistamines are often most helpful if taken 30 minutes before an anticipated exposure to an allergen (such as at a picnic during ragweed season). Timed-release antihistamines are better suited to long-term use for those who need daily medications.
Proper use of these drugs is just as significant as their selection. The most effective way to use them is before symptoms develop. A dose taken early can eliminate the need for numerous later doses to reduce established symptoms. Numerous times a patient will tell that he or she “took one, and it didn’t work.” If the patient had taken the antihistamine regularly for three to four days to build up blood levels of the medication, it might own been effective.
Side effects: Older (first-generation) antihistamines may cause drowsiness or performance impairment, which can lead to accidents and personal injury.
Even when these medications are taken only at bedtime, they can still cause considerable impairment the following day, even in people who do not feel drowsy. For this reason, it is significant that you do not drive a car or work with dangerous machinery when you take a potentially sedating antihistamine. Some of the newer antihistamines do not cause drowsiness.
A frequent side effect is excessive dryness of the mouth, nose and eyes. Less common side effects include restlessness, nervousness, overexcitability, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, euphoria, fainting, visual disturbances, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distress, constipation, diarrhea, increased or decreased urination, urinary retention, high or low blood pressure, nightmares (especially in children), sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising, chest tightness or palpitations.
Men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on antihistamines. Consult your allergist if these reactions occur.
- Do not use more than one antihistamine at a time, unless prescribed.
- Know how the medication affects you before working with heavy machinery, driving or doing other performance-intensive tasks; some products can slow your reaction time.
- Keep these medications out of the reach of children.
- Follow your allergist’s instructions.
- Some antihistamines appear to be safe to take during pregnancy, but there own not been enough studies to determine the absolute safety of antihistamines in pregnancy.
Again, consult your allergist or your obstetrician if you must take antihistamines.
- Alcohol and tranquilizers increase the sedation side effects of antihistamines.
- While antihistamines own been taken safely by millions of people in the final 50 years, don’t take antihistamines before telling your allergist if you are allergic to, or intolerant of, any medicine; are pregnant or intend to become pregnant while using this medication; are breast-feeding; own glaucoma or an enlarged prostate; or are ill.
- Never take anyone else’s medication.
Immunotherapy may be recommended for people who don’t reply well to treatment with medications or who experience side effects from medications, who own allergen exposure that is unavoidable or who desire a more permanent solution to their allergies.
Immunotherapy can be extremely effective in controlling allergic symptoms, but it doesn’t assist the symptoms produced by nonallergic rhinitis.
Two types of immunotherapy are available: allergy shots and sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets.
- Allergy shots: A treatment program, which can take three to five years, consists of injections of a diluted allergy extract, istered frequently in increasing doses until a maintenance dose is reached.
Then the injection schedule is changed so that the same dose is given with longer intervals between injections. Immunotherapy helps the body build resistance to the effects of the allergen, reduces the intensity of symptoms caused by allergen exposure and sometimes can actually make skin test reactions vanish. As resistance develops over several months, symptoms should improve.
- Sublingual tablets: This type of immunotherapy was approved by the Food and Drug istration in 2014. Starting several months before allergy season begins, patients dissolve a tablet under the tongue daily. Treatment can continue for as endless as three years.
Only a few allergens (certain grass and ragweed pollens and home dust mite) can be treated now with this method, but it is a promising therapy for the future.
Eye allergy preparations and eyedrops
Eye allergy preparations may be helpful when the eyes are affected by the same allergens that trigger rhinitis, causing redness, swelling, watery eyes and itching. OTC eyedrops and oral medications are commonly used for short-term relief of some eye allergy symptoms.
They may not relieve every symptoms, though, and prolonged use of some of these drops may actually cause your condition to worsen.
Prescription eyedrops and oral medications also are used to treat eye allergies. Prescription eyedrops provide both short- and long-term targeted relief of eye allergy symptoms, and can be used to manage them.
Check with your allergist or pharmacist if you are unsure about a specific drug or formula.
Anaphylaxis is a rare, potentially fatal allergic reaction that affects numerous parts of the body at the same time.
The trigger may be an insect sting, a food (such as peanuts) or a medication.
Symptoms may include:
- a dangerous drop in blood pressure
- difficulty breathing
- redness of the skin and/or hives
- vomiting or diarrhea
- swelling of the throat and/or tongue
- loss of consciousness.
Frequently these symptoms start without warning and get worse rapidly. At the first sign of an anaphylactic reaction, the affected person must go immediately to the closest Emergency Room or call 911.
Manuel S. Villareal, M.D.
Dr. Manuel Villareal practices Internal Medicine as an Allergist and Immunologist. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Allergy & Immunology and American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM); a Certified Physician Investigator and ABIM Geriatric Medicine specialist; and a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
He graduated cum laude from De La Salle University School of Medicine in the Philippines. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at St. Peter’s Medical Middle, where he served as Chief Resident, and his fellowship training in Allergy & Immunology and Geriatric Medicine at UCLA — West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.
Along with treating Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati patients at Fragge Allergy & Asthma Clinics since 1994, Dr. Villareal is athletic in academic clinical research; teaching medical students, residents and fellows; and several clinical drug trials on breakthrough treatments and therapies.
He is an Affiliate Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine and Faculty at St. Elizabeth Medical Center’s Family Medicine Residency Program. He also collaborates with the UC Department of Environmental Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Division of Allergy & Immunology. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles in major medical journals.
Dr. Villareal joined ENT & Allergy Specialists in October 2015, furthering our commitment to providing the best possible ENT, allergy and hearing healthcare to our community. We are excited to welcome Dr.
Villareal to the ENT & Allergy Specialists team, Northern Kentucky’s trusted healthcare professionals since 1977. Dr. Villareal is on medical staff at St. Elizabeth, Highpoint Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Villareal was named one of CINCINNATI MAGAZINE’S TOP DOCTORS for Allergy & Immunology in January 2015, marking his fifth consecutive year on this prestigious list of top healthcare providers!
The first approach in managing seasonal or perennial forms of hay fever should be to avoid the allergens that trigger symptoms.
- Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
- Wear a pollen mask (such as a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask) when mowing the lawn, raking leaves or gardening, and take appropriate medication beforehand.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the quantity of pollen getting into your eyes.
- Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are at their peak, generally during the midmorning and early evening (this may vary according to plant pollen), and when wind is blowing pollens around.
- Don’t hang clothing outdoors to dry; pollen may cling to towels and sheets.
- Try not to rub your eyes; doing so will irritate them and could make your symptoms worse.
- Reduce exposure to dust mites, especially in the bedroom.
Use “mite-proof” covers for pillows, comforters and duvets, and mattresses and box springs. Wash your bedding frequently, using boiling water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit).
- To limit exposure to mold, hold the humidity in your home low (between 30 and 50 percent) and clean your bathrooms, kitchen and basement regularly. Use a dehumidifier, especially in the basement and in other damp, humid places, and empty and clean it often.
If mold is visible, clean it with mild detergent and a 5 percent bleach solution as directed by an allergist.
- Keep windows closed, and use air conditioning in your car and home. Make certain to hold your air conditioning unit clean.
- Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry-dusting or sweeping.
Exposure to pets
- Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals; wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
- If you are allergic to a household pet, hold the animal out of your home as much as possible. If the pet must be inside, hold it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to animal allergens while you sleep.
- Close the air ducts to your bedroom if you own forced-air or central heating or cooling.
Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum, every of which are easier to hold dander-free.
Treatments that are not recommended for allergic rhinitis
- Antibiotics: Effective for the treatment of bacterial infections, antibiotics do not affect the course of uncomplicated common colds (a viral infection) and are of no benefit for noninfectious rhinitis, including allergic rhinitis.
- Nasal surgery: Surgery is not a treatment for allergic rhinitis, but it may assist if patients own nasal polyps or chronic sinusitis that is not responsive to antibiotics or nasal steroid sprays.
What is an allergy blood test?
Allergies are a common and chronic condition that involves the body’s immune system.
Normally, your immune system works to fight off viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents. When you own an allergy, your immune system treats a harmless substance, love dust or pollen, as a threat. To fight this perceived threat, your immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
Substances that cause an allergic reaction are called allergens.
Besides dust and pollen, other common allergens include animal dander, foods, including nuts and shellfish, and certain medicines, such as penicillin. Allergy symptoms can range from sneezing and a stuffy nose to a life-threatening complication called anaphylactic shock. Allergy blood tests measure the quantity of IgE antibodies in the blood. A little quantity of IgE antibodies is normal. A larger quantity of IgE may mean you own an allergy.
Other names: IgE allergy test, Quantitative IgE, Immunoglobulin E, Entire IgE, Specific IgE
Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.
The more common allergens include:
- animal dander, tiny flakes of skin or hair
- medicines – including ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
- insect bites and stings
- dust mites
- food – particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs and cows’ milk
- grass and tree pollen – an allergy to these is known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- mould – these can release little particles into the air that you can breathe in
- latex – used to make some gloves and condoms
- household chemicals – including those in detergents and hair dyes
Most of these allergens are generally harmless to people who are not allergic to them.
What causes allergies?
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to a specific substance as though it’s harmful.
It’s not clear why this happens, but most people affected own a family history of allergies or own closely related conditions, such as asthma or eczema.
The number of people with allergies is increasing every year.
The reasons for this are not understood, but 1 of the main theories is it’s the result of living in a cleaner, germ-free environment, which reduces the number of germs our immune system has to deal with.
It’s thought this may cause it to overreact when it comes into contact with harmless substances.
Getting assist for allergies
See a GP if you ponder you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can also be caused by other conditions.
A GP can assist determine whether it’s likely you own an allergy.
If they ponder you might own a mild allergy, they can offer advice and treatment to assist manage the condition.
If your allergy is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you’re allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and advice about treatment.
Find out more about allergy testing
Symptoms of an allergic reaction
Allergic reactions generally happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
They can cause:
- a runny or blocked nose
- wheezing and coughing
- red, itchy, watery eyes
- a red, itchy rash
- worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can happen.
This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.