When it comes to environmental allergies, various symptoms whether those are simply annoying or more severe can occur abruptly. Here in Florida, seasonal allergies seem to be year-round for many people with molds, mildews, dust and pollen thriving in our warm environment. Although certain months of the year are worse than others, seasonal and environmental allergies are a common disorder from the young to the elderly population.
When a substance enters the body like dust mites (a common allergen), the antibodies, which are proteins bind to the allergen to defend itself. This causes an immunoglobin E (IgE) release. The E stands for Eosinophils. If too much IgE is in the body, it will produce allergic reactions like hives, itching eyes, nasal congestion, vomiting, or a swollen mouth to name a few.
Sometimes it’s challenging to differentiate allergy symptoms from a cold; the good news is that a physician can easily decipher your diagnosis, properly treat your symptoms, and get you feeling better quickly.
When it comes to issues like food allergies, if anaphylactic shock has set in, you must call 911 and go to the Emergency Department. However, most allergic reactions cause itching, hives, gastrointestinal issues, sinus congestion, watery eyes, and other non-life-
threatening disorders to take place. In these cases, getting temporary relief is usually as easy as reaching for an antihistamine, but the real issue is always underlying. Finding the right treatment for the exact cause of your allergies is critical.
Allergens Effect on the Body & Treatment Options
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 26 million people have asthma, and allergic asthma is the most common type affecting 60% of sufferers. Allergic asthma has the same symptoms as asthma but is the result of what the body is having an allergic reaction to, which causes bronchial inflammation. Allergies can trigger the body’s immune response through skin absorption and contact, inhalation, ingestion, infusions or injections.
As with allergies, the release of immunoglobin E can also trigger asthma, which is a narrowing of the bronchial system and inflammation of the lungs, which makes it difficult to breathe. Too many eosinophils will trigger a white blood cell response and cause asthmatic wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and in severe cases, the inability to breathe. Again, if you can’t breathe, call 911.
To control allergic asthma, a doctor can temporarily treat the disorder until an allergist or pulmonologist can determine what’s causing the attack and how to treat it long-term. In the case of ongoing or severe environmental allergies, getting tested for various allergens is the first step. From there, your doctor can prescribe allergy shots with specific antigens (to what you’re allergic to) that will help alleviate your attacks.
Over-the-counter medications are available like Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin. As for nasal sprays, some of the over-the-counter options are saline nasal cavity washes, Nasacort and Flonase. Prescription options are available too; these are the latest, most well-studied pharmaceutical grade products to control or alleviate your symptoms.
If you are experiencing allergic symptoms, it’s important to see a specialist.
To schedule an appointment with a pulmonary specialist, please call Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Specialists of SWFL today at (239) 985-1925 or ask your primary care physician to refer you to their office.
Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep
Medicine Specialists of SWFL
7335 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33908