An allergy is a sensitivity to a particular substance (allergen) that causes an inflammatory reaction when introduced to the body. Common allergens include pollen, dust, dust mites, animal dander, mold and some foods. An allergic reaction can only occur if a patient has had prior exposure to the allergen. The initial exposure is referred to as sensitization. During sensitization, immune cells or lymphocytes release antibodies (IgE) which attach to special cells (referred to as mast cells). When this occurs, subsequent exposure to the allergen will set off a chain reaction which triggers the allergic response through the release of histamines.
The diagnosis of allergies is a multistep process that involves the taking of a detailed medical history as well as various other special tests. Your physician will work with you to determine which tests are necessary to diagnose your allergies. It is important to note that your physician may also suggest additional testing to rule out other conditions which may explain your symptoms. The following steps are guidelines to this process.
• Watery eyes
• Scratchy throat
• Sneezing and coughing
• Watery nasal discharge
• Postnasal drip
• Recurrent Sinus Infections
• Ears Popping
• Sore Throat
• Throat Clearing
- Wash all bedding weekly in hot water. Tumble dacron hypoallergenic pillows for 15 minutes in a dryer set to high.
- Encase mattresses, box springs and pillows in zippered, dust proof or hypoallergenic covering.
- Avoid carpeting, especially in the bedroom.
- Avoid heavy curtains and Venetian blinds. Use light washable curtains instead.
- Avoid wool or down blankets.
- Cover air vents with filters.
- Remove stuffed animals, magazines, books or boxes collecting dust from the bedroom.
- Avoid wall pennants, macrame hangings and other dust collectors.
- Keep the relative humidity at 35 to 40%.