No cold should last for weeks. Yet, you've had a runny nose, watery eyes and headaches for more days than you can count. Could you have an undiagnosed allergy? Here at Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX, your otolaryngologist, Dr. Christine Gilliam, provides allergy testing to investigate your symptoms and get you on a treatment plan for lasting relief.
What are allergies?
Allergies are the immune system's overreaction to a substance that enters the body through the skin, respiratory system, or GI tract. In other words, allergens, or symptom triggers, are everywhere in the environment, ready to be breathed in, ingested, or touched.
Millions of Americans of all ages have allergies to one degree or another. Some allergies go silent for years, only to express themselves again with a change in living conditions, medication, or overall health. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says that 200,000 Americans visit hospital ERs annually because of food allergies.
What are the symptoms?
Allergy symptoms vary, as do their intensity. Some reactions are so mild and transitory the sufferer does not notice them much. Others, such as anaphylactic shock in response to a bee sting, are so severe they are life-threatening. That's why Dr. Gilliam's team urges patients to undergo allergy testing if they, or their physicians, suspect they have undiagnosed allergies.
Common symptoms include:
- Watery eyes
- Facial numbness or tingling
- GI upset
How does your physician diagnose allergies?
Paying close attention to symptoms, their onset, severity, and what may relieve them is critical to allergy diagnosis and management. Common allergens are pet dander, plant molds, dust mites, pollen, shellfish, peanuts, and insect vectors. Household products, such as laundry detergent, often precipitate atopic dermatitis, an itchy, red skin rash.
Besides noting triggers, Dr. Gilliam uses allergy testing in her San Antonio office. Skin prick tests, which introduce a tiny amount of suspected allergen under the skin, are the most common diagnostic tools and are "read" by the doctor right in the office. Challenge tests involve ingesting a suspect substance such as a medication or food. Finally, blood work is a very accurate way to measure allergic responses. With results in hand, your ENT doctor will formulate a plan of trigger avoidance, oral medications, or immunotherapy (allergy shots or drops) to control your symptoms.
We can help
If you wish to feel and function better, get a handle on your allergies. Dr. Christine Gilliam at Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center helps you be in control. For more information or a consultation on allergy testing, contact her San Antonio office at (210) 647-3838.