What is an Allergy?
An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to an inappropriate stimulus, such as dust, pollen, grass, pet dander, mold, etc. The immune system believes it is being invaded by a parasite rather than a harmless allergen in the environment, and therefore it rallies its defenses to fight off the enemy.
The list of symptoms caused by allergies is longer than you might think. Primary signs of allergies include:
• Runny or congested nose
• Watery and itchy eyes
• Frequent ear infections
• Sinus headaches
• Nasal polyps
• Conjunctivitis (eye irritation)
• Muscle/joint pain
• Skin rashes and eczema
• Mental problems such as confusion, slow thinking, depression and forgetfulness
• Respiratory effects including endless colds, chronic cough, recurrent bronchitis
There are many items in the environment that could cause your allergies. They fall into four general categories:
• Animal dander — from dogs, cats and cockroaches
• Mold and mildew
• Dust mites
• Pollen — from trees, grass and weeds
In addition, certain food causes allergies and others cause your body to react to some of the environmental allergens listed above.
Immunotherapy is the closest thing to an allergy cure. It’s a process that desensitizes your body to allergens by introducing them to your body, via serum, in small doses. As treatment progresses, the amount of these allergens (also known as antigens) in the serum increases so your immune system learns to tolerate and then ignore them, making you a much happier person during allergy season!
For more information about allergies causes, symptoms, and treatments, please ask Dr. Lee or check out www.allervision.com.