Allergies affect more than 50 million Americans, making it the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. Allergies are also on the rise, which means that an ever-growing number of people are developing them with each passing year. No matter what you’re allergic to, the experienced providers at HT Family Physicians can diagnose, treat, and help you manage your allergies. With two convenient locations in Stockton and Lodi, California, they serve patients from the greater San Joaquin area. Call or book your appointment online today.
Your immune system functions as a kind of internal shield that protects you from illness-causing bacteria and viruses. It also defends against foreign substances like pollen, dust, animal dander, and mold.
If your immune system overreacts to one or more of these otherwise harmless substances, however, it stimulates the production of antibodies, which then prompts the release of histamine and other chemicals, thereby triggering an allergy attack.
Allergies are a chronic condition, meaning they’re long-lasting or they occur frequently. Anyone can be born with an allergy or develop one during their lifetime.
Although allergy development can’t be prevented, allergic reactions can be controlled once an allergy has been properly diagnosed.
The most common allergic diseases include hay fever, asthma, conjunctivitis, hives, eczema, dermatitis, and sinusitis.
Food allergies, which affect children more often than adults, sometimes disappear with age.
Allergies to latex and certain types of medication are common, too, as are allergic reactions to bee, hornet, wasp, and yellowjacket stings.
The symptoms of an allergy attack are often felt in the respiratory tract, including your nose, sinuses, throat, and lungs. Depending on the nature of your allergy, you may also have a reaction that affects your skin, ears, or the lining of your stomach.
For some people, an allergic reaction can also trigger asthma symptoms.
The intensity of your reaction depends on the severity of your allergy: Someone with mild hay fever may just develop watery eyes and a scratchy throat, while someone with a serious peanut allergy can experience anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening emergency that can result in restricted breathing and other life-threatening reactions.
Common allergy symptoms include:
People with hay fever often experience a reaction in the form of sneezing along with itchy, watery eyes and either a runny or stuffy nose.
An allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting generally includes a large area of swelling, itching, or hives all over, and in severe cases, wheezing, chest tightness, and anaphylaxis.
A mild food allergy can cause a tingling mouth or hives, while more serious reactions include swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat, and anaphylaxis.
The team at HT Family Physicians can usually diagnose allergies in two basic steps, starting with a comprehensive review of your medical history and a physical exam.
After you undergo a variety of tests to identify your specific allergens (the practice uses an off-site lab for blood testing), your doctor can diagnose the nature and severity of your allergies and develop a treatment plan that works for you.
In addition to teaching you how to best avoid known allergens, allergy treatment strategies may also include medication or immunotherapy, a long-term treatment approach that trains your immune system not to overreact to allergens.