YOUR CHARLOTTE ALLERGY SPECIALISTS
Do you live in the greater Charlotte area? Are you experiencing itching in the nose, roof of the mouth, throat, eyes, sneezing, stuffy nose (congestion), runny nose, tearing eyes and dark circles under the eyes? If so, come in and see us so we can determine if you have allergies!
If you’ve just recently moved to Charlotte, you may start experiencing allergy symptoms you’ve never had before. An allergy is a chronic condition involving an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance called an allergen. If you have an allergy, your immune system views the allergen as an invader and a chain reaction is initiated. White blood cells of the immune system produce IgE antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to special cells called mast cells, causing a release of potent chemicals such as histamine. These chemicals cause symptoms such as itching in the nose, roof of the mouth, throat, eyes, sneezing, stuffy nose (congestion), runny nose, tearing eyes and dark circles under the eyes. Does this sounds like you? Don’t worry, your Charlotte allergy specialists can help!
Each season, tiny particles known as pollen are released from trees, weeds, and grasses. As pollen blows through the air, it is inhaled into our noses and throats, triggering a type of seasonal allergic rhinitis called pollen allergy, also known as hay fever. Pollen allergies, including ragweed pollen, grass pollen and tree pollen, affect millions of Americans each year. Symptoms of pollen allergies include sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, and itchy and watery eyes. There are many different types of seasonal allergy treatments available.
While any food can cause an allergic reaction, the most commonly diagnosed and treated food allergies are caused by peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, milk, and eggs. A food allergist can give patients expert care in the specifics of their disease, including the cause of the allergic reaction determined by food allergy testing, education about food avoidance and use of emergency measures in case of exposure.
Prick Tests involve applying suspected allergens to the surface of the skin (topically) and then pricking the skin to introduce the substances into the skin. These tests, which usually are performed on the forearm, upper arm, or upper back, allow several allergens to be tested at the same time. Allergic reactions (e.g., itching, redness, swelling) usually develop within 20 minutes. Intradermal tests, which involve injecting a small amount of allergen into the outer layer of skin, may be required to conclusively rule out allergic sensitivities; often used to diagnose hay fever, food allergies, drug allergies and latex allergy.
Patch Tests can be used to diagnose contact dermatitis and delayed food allergy. In this test, the allergist/immunologist places a small amount of allergen on the skin (usually on the back), covers the area with a bandage, and checks for a reaction after 48-72 hours. Patients who are allergic to the substance develop a rash, or even blisters, on the skin.
Allergy Blood Tests
While not done in our office, a physician may order a allergy blood test whichs involves taking a blood sample, adding an allergen to the sample, and measuring the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies produced in response to the allergen. Allergy blood tests, which are less sensitive and more expensive than skin tests, are usually reserved for rare cases when allergy skin tests may not be accurate (e.g., when the patient has sensitive skin that reacts to a saline prick test or has a skin condition, such as hives or eczema, that prevents an adequate field for skin tests).