Allergies Specialist

Dr Emily Women's Health Center -  - Board Certified Obstetrics & Gynecology

Dr Emily Women's Health Center

Board Certified Obstetrics & Gynecologist located in Bronx, NY

Allergies are the body’s immune response when it reacts to a foreign substance. When these substances are not recognized — such as pollen, bee venom, pet dander, or certain foods — it produces a defense mechanism and a reaction occurs. At Dr. Emily Women's Health Center in the Longwood area of the Bronx, New York, the team can determine the cause of all your allergies. Allergic reactions can vary in severity. For some people it is only minor irritation or swelling, but for others is can be anaphylaxis, which then becomes a life-threatening emergency. Most allergies cannot be cured, but there are treatment options to help relieve symptoms.

Allergies

Symptoms

Allergy symptoms depend on the substance involved. They can range from mild to severe, which includes blockage of airways and nasal passages, sinuses, skin irritation, and digestive problems. These reactions vary in effect and sometimes trigger anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction.

Symptoms of hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)

Symptoms of food allergies can include:

  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat
  • Hives
  • Anaphylaxis

Symptoms of insect string allergies can include:

  • A large area of swelling (edema) at the sting site
  • Itching or hives all over the body
  • Cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Anaphylaxis

Symptoms of drug allergies can include:

  • Hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Rash
  • Facial swelling
  • Wheezing
  • Anaphylaxis

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition also called eczema, can cause skin to:

  • Itch
  • Redden
  • Flake or peel

Causes

When the body does not recognize a harmless, foreign substance, it produces an allergic reaction because it believes the substance is a dangerous invader. The immune system then produces antibodies that remain on the alert for that particular allergen. When one is exposed to the allergen again, these antibodies release different chemicals of the immune system, such as histamine, and cause allergy symptoms.

 

Common allergy triggers include:

  • Airborne allergens,such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites and mold
  • Certain foods,particularly peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs and milk
  • Insect stings,such as from a bee or wasp
  • Medications,particularly penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics
  • Latex or other substances by sense of touch,which can cause skin reactions

 

Prevention

Preventing allergic reactions depends on the type of allergy a person has. Some general precautionary measures one can take include the following:

 

  • Avoid known triggers.Even if you are treating your allergy symptoms, try to avoid triggers. If, for instance, you are allergic to pollen, stay inside with windows and doors closed when pollen is high. If allergic to dust mites, dust and vacuum and wash bedding often.
  • Keep a diary.When trying to identify what causes or worsens your allergic symptoms, track your activities and what you eat, when symptoms occur and what seems to help. This may help you and your doctor identify triggers.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet.If you have had a severe allergic reaction, a medical alert bracelet (or necklace) lets others know that you have a serious allergy in case of a reaction and are unable to communicate.