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Allergy & Immunology

Specialized in allergy and immunology, our expert allergy doctors at Manhattan Medical Arts provide holistic prevention and treatments to help you fight against allergies. By offering the necessary education to patients, combined with personalized care, our specialists help you manage your allergies while keeping the symptoms and allergic reactions at bay.

Our skilled allergy doctors prescribe and carry out the most effective of ways to keep a grip on your allergies and prevent you from experiencing life-threatening allergic reactions. With an extensive understanding of the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of allergies, our experts also have access to modernized testing and treatment facilities, ensuring reliable diagnosis and treatment plans.

What is an Allergy?

Allergies can be described as a specific physical reaction that your body gives against a particular substance, which is perceived by your body as dangerous. The defense system of your body, known as “immune system”, is what reacts in these situations, and the substances that have the capability to compel your body to react are known as “allergens”.

Every individual’s body reacts differently to a specific allergy, and that particular way a body reacts to an allergen is what’s called an “allergic reaction”.

Symptoms of Allergy

An allergen, seemingly a harmless substance, is what triggers our body to give an unusual reaction when it comes in contact with it. The extent of the allergic response from your body to an allergen continues to get worse every time you’re exposed to it.

Here is a list of the most common allergic symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Nasal congestion
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Sensitization
  • Peeling of the skin

Types of Allergies

There are several types of allergies, a few being seasonal that frequently come and go, while others being strong enough to last year round.

Allergies can vary widely in their triggers and symptoms, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. Understanding the different types of allergies can help in their management and treatment.
Listed below are few of the most common types of allergies:

Seasonal Allergy

Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, occur during specific times of the year when certain plants release pollen into the air. Common triggers include tree pollen in the spring, grass pollen in the summer, and weed pollen in the fall. Symptoms may include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and throat irritation.

Drugs And Medications

Some individuals may develop allergic reactions to certain medications, ranging from over-the-counter drugs to prescription medications. These reactions can vary from mild skin rashes to severe anaphylaxis. It’s essential to identify any drug allergies to prevent potentially life-threatening complications.

Latex

Latex allergies are reactions to proteins found in natural rubber latex, commonly used in gloves, condoms, balloons, and medical devices. Exposure to latex can trigger symptoms such as skin rash, itching, hives, nasal congestion, or even severe respiratory distress.

Foods

Food allergies involve adverse immune responses to specific foods or food components. Common allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Food allergies can cause a range of symptoms, from mild digestive discomfort to severe reactions like anaphylaxis.

Mold

Mold allergies result from sensitivities to mold spores present in the environment. Mold can grow indoors in damp areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, as well as outdoors in soil, vegetation, and decaying organic matter. Symptoms may include nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and skin irritation.

Pet Dander

Pet allergies are caused by proteins found in the skin cells, saliva, and urine of animals, particularly cats, dogs, and rodents. Exposure to pet dander can lead to symptoms such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, coughing, and asthma exacerbations in susceptible individuals.

Venom (Stinging Insect)

Allergic reactions to insect stings, such as those from bees, wasps, hornets, and fire ants, can range from localized swelling and redness to severe anaphylaxis. People who have experienced severe reactions to insect stings should carry an epinephrine auto-injector and seek immediate medical attention if stung.

Pollen

Pollen allergies, similar to seasonal allergies, occur when individuals react to specific plant pollens released into the air. Symptoms may include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, and throat irritation. Identifying the specific pollen triggers can help manage symptoms effectively.

Allergy Testing

When you’re experiencing symptoms that could be due to allergies, getting tested is the first step towards finding relief. Allergy testing helps us identify the specific substances, or allergens, that trigger your body’s immune response. By understanding what you’re allergic to, we can develop a tailored treatment plan to manage your symptoms effectively.

Before undergoing allergy testing, our healthcare professionals will take a detailed medical history and discuss your symptoms with you. This helps us narrow down the potential allergens to test for and ensures a more accurate diagnosis.

The types of allergy tests involved in the diagnosis include:

Blood Test

This test involves taking a small blood sample to measure the level of allergy-related antibodies, such as immunoglobulin E (IgE), present in your blood. It helps identify allergens that may be causing your symptoms. Blood tests are particularly useful for patients who cannot undergo skin tests due to certain medical conditions or medications.

Skin Patch Test

During a skin patch test, small amounts of specific allergens are applied to patches, which are then placed on your skin (usually on your back). After a set period, typically 48 hours, the patches are removed, and your skin is examined for any allergic reactions. This test is commonly used to diagnose contact dermatitis caused by substances like metals, fragrances, or preservatives.

Skin Prick Test

Also known as a puncture or scratch test, a skin prick test involves placing small amounts of different allergens on your skin (usually on your forearm or back) and then pricking or scratching the skin’s surface. If you’re allergic to a particular substance, you may develop a raised, red bump called a wheal at the test site within 15-20 minutes. Skin prick tests are safe, quick, and generally well-tolerated by patients of all ages.

Allergy Treatments

Living with allergies doesn’t mean you have to suffer. There are several effective treatments available to help alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

When it comes to managing allergies, there are various approaches, depending on the severity of your symptoms and the specific allergens triggering your reactions. Treatment options aim to reduce symptoms, prevent allergic reactions, and improve overall well-being.

Medications

Antihistamines

These drugs block the action of histamine, a chemical released during allergic reactions, to relieve symptoms like sneezing, itching, and nasal congestion.

Decongestants

These medications help shrink swollen nasal tissues, reducing congestion and improving breathing.

Nasal Steroids

These sprays reduce inflammation in the nasal passages, relieving congestion and other allergy symptoms.

Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)

Allergy shots work by gradually desensitizing your immune system to specific allergens, reducing your body’s allergic response over time.

Avoidance Strategies

Identifying Triggers

By pinpointing the allergens that cause your symptoms, you can take steps to minimize your exposure to them.

Environmental Controls

Implementing measures such as using air purifiers, allergen-proof bedding, and avoiding outdoor activities during high pollen seasons can help reduce allergen exposure.

When to See an Allergist

Anyone who feels that they are constantly sick, or experiences sickness such as a cough or head congestion frequently at regular intervals, should schedule an appointment with an allergy doctor, since clear symptoms of any allergy tend to develop slowly over a period of time.

People who are suffering from allergies are usually accustomed to experiencing allergic symptoms, i.e. congestion, sneezing, itchy skin, wheezing, etc. Our expert allergy doctors at Manhattan Medical Arts provide the help you need to prevent and effectively manage your allergy induced symptoms, improving your health and daily life.

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