Indoor & Outdoor Allergies
Allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system in which the body's defenses react to a usually harmless substance in the environment (aeroallergen). The immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). The IgE then travels to cells that release chemicals that cause inflammation in the body. Symptoms usually include sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose or eyes, and itching of the nose, mouth, throat, eyes or ears. In some people, they can also affect other organ systems such as the lungs or skin.
The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Allergies
Environmental allergies are usually classified as indoor (perennial) or outdoor (seasonal).
Indoor allergens include animal dander, dust mite droppings, cockroach droppings, and mold. These allergens are usually present all year around and can be more harmful than the outdoor allergens.
Outdoor allergens are usually pollen from trees, grasses, weeds, ragweed, and spores from mold. Each of these have a period of the year in which their levels can rise and fall.
Managing Your Allergies
During the seasons, pollen counts of the air are done so that one can try to limit exposure effectively. Finding the right treatment is the best method for managing your allergies. A Board Certified Allergist has the training and experience to test which substances are causing symptoms. A Board Certified Allergist is a pediatrician or internist or both with at least two years of training in an Allergy and Clinical Immunology program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic disease. Treatment plans can be devised which include the following:
How to Limit Exposure to or Avoid Allergies
One way to treat allergies is the appropriate use of medications that include antihistamines, decongestants, inhaled nasal steroids, leukotriene modifiers and oral steroids periodically.
Immunotherapy or desensitization treatment (allergy shots) may be recommended for certain people. This approach involves receiving regular injections, which help the immune system become increasingly resistant to the specific allergen thus reducing symptoms as well as medication requirements. Allergen desensitization is the only disease-modifying treatment available. Currently, subcutaneous treatment and some sublingual treatments are an FDA-approved mode of desensitization in the United States.
By visiting a Board Certified Allergist, you can expect an accurate diagnosis, a treatment plan that works, and educational information to help manage your disease.