Did you know that allergies affect over 50 million people in the United States? Allergies are quite common, though they can be annoying and interfere with your daily activities. To help you determine your allergens and take the steps to reduce symptoms, Dr. Gray offers allergy testing removal at our Bellevue, WA office.
What is an Allergy?
Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to something you come in contact with. For example, many common allergens include pollen, pet dander, and bee venom. When your body overreacts to these substances, your immune system creates antibodies that believe certain allergens are harmful, even if they are not. This can result in skin, sinus, digestive, or airway inflammation. For some people, allergies may be seasonal, while other people experience allergies throughout the year. There are certain factors that might put you at a higher risk for developing allergies, including a family history of allergies, or if you have asthma.
Overall, there are three main types of allergens, including:
- Inhaled allergens: These affect the body when they come into contact with the nostrils, throat, or lungs.
- Ingested allergens: Are present in certain foods. The most common food allergens include peanuts, seafood, and soy.
- Contact allergens: These must come into contact with your skin in order for a reaction to occur.
Allergy testing can be performed to determine which substances your skin has a reaction to and can be done through skin testing and blood testing. During a skin test, patches are applied to the skin on the back that have 36 small discs that contain a small amount of an allergen. If you experience redness, swelling, or itchiness at any of the 36 disc sites, you are allergic to that specific substance. If there is any chance that you could experience a severe allergic reaction during a skin test, you may be sent for a blood test. These tests look for antibodies that fight certain allergens to determine major allergies. Lastly, if you believe you have a food allergy, Dr. Gray will refer you to an allergist for prick testing. This can help you to determine which foods to avoid.
Allergy desensitization through allergy shots is done by an allergist to stop or reduce allergy attacks. This technique involves injecting a specific allergen into the body over a period of time. These shots contain just enough of the allergen to stimulate the immune system, but not enough to cause an allergic reaction. Over time, your body will get used to the allergens, desensitizing your system and diminishing allergy symptoms.