What is an Allergy?
An allergy is an unpleasant reaction that you experience when your body is exposed to a substance to which you are hypersensitive. Such substances, which are harmless to many other people who are not "allergic", are called allergens. Allergens are substances that can cause your body to react. Allergens invade the body in different ways. We inhale them, we swallow them, and we can absorb them through the skin. Some people react to medications and venom. Other allergens, like pollen, are seasonal and bother us only during certain times of the year.
We will ask you questions about your allergy history and do either a skin test (SET), or a blood test (RAST). You will be tested for a number of inhalant allergens, and in some cases, foods.
Depending upon your test results, your doctor will prescribe a treatment program for you that will relieve or eliminate much of your discomfort. These may include avoiding certain foods, or taking medications. The four primary medication classes are oral antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, nasal antihistamines, or leukotriene inhibitors. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) may also be prescribed – small doses of the offending allergens are injected into the body over a period of time, gradually building up the body’s tolerance to that allergen.