How to Manage and Treat Allergies?
If you suffer from allergy symptoms that are going untreated, meeting with an allergist can vastly improve your daily quality of life. At the Allergy & Asthma Center, we help you manage your allergies so you can enjoy every moment of your life. For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We serve patients from Lawrenceville GA, Atlanta GA, and Conyers, GA.
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Allergies are very common and can be to almost every substance we are exposed to on a daily basis, including trees, grass, pets, foods, chemicals, and insects. Reactions to allergies can vary quite a bit in severity, but suffering from even very mild allergies regularly can quickly take a toll on your quality of life. If you suffer from allergy symptoms that are going untreated, meeting with an allergist can vastly improve your quality of life.
If you suffer from allergies, that does not mean that you have a generally weakened immune system; it simply means that your immune system is not functioning properly as it is creating antigens to attack normally harmless substances (pet dander, pollen, dust mites, etc.). Having allergies is entirely an immune-related disease, but many studies have shown that those who suffer from allergies typically have a stronger immune system against other diseases or infections. Allergy symptoms are just your immune system being hypersensitive and responding too strongly to allergens. That being said, suffering from allergies long-term without being able to properly relieve the symptoms can lead to a weakened immune system, making it more difficult to fight off other viruses and bacteria.
While the most effective way to manage allergies and minimize symptoms is through avoiding the allergen, that is not always reasonable or possible, especially for those who have environmental allergies such as pollen or grass. You can have allergy tests performed by an allergist to help identify the specific allergens to avoid whenever possible. If the allergens are unavoidable, over-the-counter oral antihistamines will often work to relieve symptoms, or your allergist can prescribe allergy medications if your allergies are a bit worse. There are also nasal sprays that work to provide relief for congestion and runny noses, but unless otherwise advised by your allergist, these should typically not be taken long-term as many of them contain corticosteroids. If none of these options prove to be very beneficial, you can discuss with your allergist to see if immunotherapy would work to provide long-term relief for the allergies. For household allergens such as dust mites and pet dander, avoiding carpets and maintaining a clean house will help to minimize allergy symptoms a bit.
For fast relief from allergy symptoms, antihistamines will be able to provide significant relief within an hour of being taken. If you are suffering from congestion or a runny nose, a nasal spray will be able to provide relief even faster, but all other common allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes or skin will likely require an antihistamine or other oral medication. Fast relief from allergies can also be found through a hot shower, as it steams out your sinuses, or a saline nasal irrigation to help rinse the mucous from your nose. Drinking plenty of water to stay well-hydrated will also help to thin out the mucous that is produced, often providing lessened allergy symptoms. If your allergies are to particles that float in the air and settle on the floor in your home, closing all windows can help prevent pollen from getting into your home, and vacuuming will help to remove the allergens from the environment. Using an air purifier in your home will also help to remove allergens from the air.
Allergy immunotherapy is currently one of the most effective ways to strengthen patients’ immunity to their specific allergens, resulting in long-term decreased severity to the allergens, with some patients finding complete relief for years following the treatments. Immunotherapy is done by regularly injecting very small concentrations of the allergen into the patient to gradually build up their tolerance, with the concentration of the allergen increasing after several months of weekly injections. Once the maximum concentration is reached, the injections can be performed less frequently to maintain the immunity long-term. Allergy immunotherapy can also be described as desensitization to the allergens, working very similarly to vaccinations in that a very small amount of the allergen is administered to allow the body to lessen its response to the allergen when it encounters it again in the future.
For more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment online. We serve patients from Lawrenceville GA, Atlanta GA, Conyers GA, Suwanee GA, Duluth GA, Grayson GA, Decatur GA, Brookhaven GA, Lithonia GA, and Covington GA.