Explore the Types of Allergies & Get Right Diagnose

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Nasal Allergies

There are two types of nasal allergies we often see: rhinitis (also known as hay fever) and sinusitis. Rhinitis is inflammation of your mucous membranes. It can be caused by pet dander, mold, dust, and pollen. It can also be triggered by smoke, strong odors, or changes in air temperature and humidity. Symptoms of rhinitis include:

  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, mouth, throat, and eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes

Sinusitis is inflammation in your sinuses. It’s most often caused by colds, but people with other allergies are more likely to develop sinusitis than people who don’t have allergies. Sinusitis has many of the same symptoms as rhinitis. It can also present with these signs:

  • Green or gray nasal discharge
  • Headaches
  • Pressure in the face
  • Fever
  • Persistent coughs

Skin Allergies

The most common skin allergies we encounter are eczema, hives, angioedema, and contact dermatitis. Eczema is caused by a gene variation that affects your skin’s ability to retain moisture. Hives and angioedema are related conditions that can be triggered by numerous foods, medications, environmental factors, and other common allergens. Contact dermatitis is caused by touching something that irritates your skin.
Symptoms of skin allergies include:

  • Red, itchy, or scaly skin
  • Swelling of the deeper layers of the skin, such as the eyelids, mouth, or genitals
  • Dry, flaking skin
  • Inflamed or blistered skin
  • An unexplained rash

Skin allergies have thousands of potential triggers, so it’s important that you get allergy testing if you think you have one. The Skin & Allergy Center can diagnose the cause of your skin allergy to help you avoid these painful or unsightly symptoms.

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Food Allergies

Food allergies are triggered by your immune system’s overreaction to food. Your immune system identifies the food as a danger and triggers a protective response. The foods that often cause allergies are:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

Food allergies can cause the unpleasant skin conditions we listed above. They can also lead to a much more serious, potentially life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is when your immune system responds to an allergen by releasing a flood of chemicals that cause you to go into shock. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weak pulse
  • Swelling of the tongue and constriction of the airways, making it hard to breathe

Anaphylaxis can occur within minutes or seconds of exposure to an allergen, and it can be fatal without treatment. People who are at risk for anaphylaxis should always carry an epinephrine injector with them.

Insect Sting Allergies

Similar to food allergies, insect sting allergies are caused by your immune system’s overreaction to a sting. They can also, like food allergies, trigger anaphylaxis. People with insect sting allergies should always have an epinephrine injector with them. These five insects cause the most allergic sting reactions:

  • Yellow jackets
  • Honey bees
  • Paper wasps
  • Hornets
  • Fire ants

Treating Your Allergies

At the Skin & Allergy Center, we want to help you live as normal a life as you can despite your allergies. Our board-certified doctors will work with you to determine the right treatment for your needs, which may include:

  • Allergy shots: These increase your immunity to allergens by gradually exposing you to increasing amounts over several months.
  • Allergy drops: Allergy drops work like shots, but they’re administered via liquid drops under your tongue in your own home.
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