Allergies are perhaps one of the most under diagnosed problems in America today, and East Tennessee in particular. If you look at the yearly published lists of the worst allergy cities in the United States, invariably, two or three of the top ten cities will be in East Tennessee.
However, appropriate diagnosis and treatment of allergies is not the easiest task. In fact, I treat many patients who have been on shots diagnosed using the classical method of allergy testing who continue with problems even after ten to fifteen years of shot therapy. It is for this reason we offer four different methods of testing dependent upon the individual characteristics of each patient.
Allergies are genetic. Thus, if one person in your family has allergies, most usually others will as well. Therefore, testing of other family members may be recommended.
- Avoidance: In some instances avoidance of the offending allergen may be all that is needed. In all cases, avoidance is recommended.
- Allergy Desensitization: Shots, sub-lingual drops or other methods of gradual exposure of the patient to the allergens to which they react. This allows the body to eventually recognize the offending allergen as a normal part of the environment, rather than as an attacking entity.
- Antihistamines: Histamines are just one of many substances released during an allergic reaction. They are usually associated with swelling, redness, and itching. Anti-histamines prevent or counter the release and effects of histamines. Most Otolaryngologists currently recommend low sedating or non-sedating antihistamines rather than traditional antihistamines such as diphenhydramine. Some states include sedating antihistamines in DUI laws.
- Steroids: Steroids, either topical such as creams used on the skin to reduce itching,redness, and rashes; nasal,used to decrease irritation and reaction in the nose and possibly Eustachian tubes; inhaled, to reduce inflammation and reactions in the lungs and tracheo-bronchial tree; systemic, or given by injection, mouth or intravenously, usually reserved for recalcitrant or severe reactions.
- Fatigue. Although most people don’t think of it, fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of allergies and often results in diminished academic or work performance.
- Itching or Rash.
- Runny Nose. Clear nasal drainage is a common report with allergies.
Restless sleep patterns. Either from dust or feather allergies related to the exposure to the allergen when you are in bed.
- Itchy, watery eyes.
- Gastrointestinal distress. Nausea, irritable bowel symptoms, or diarrhea.