Did you know that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.? According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies affect more than 17 million adults and seven million children in the U.S.
While the Salt Lake City area may be relatively friendly to allergy-sufferers (compared to other locations in the United States), locals still have plenty of trees, grasses and weeds to contend with – to say nothing of the pet dander, dust mites and other allergens common to homes all over the world.
How do I know what’s causing my allergies?
The only way to know for certain what is causing your allergies is to get tested. Some of the most common allergy triggers include:
- Airborne allergens: pollen, pet dander, dust mites and mold
- Foods: peanuts, dairy, wheat, soy and shellfish are some of the most common
- Insect stings
Regardless of the trigger, allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies a harmless substance as an invader. The immune system responds to the “invader” by producing antibodies that identify and “remember” the allergens. Antibodies may be in the form of histamines, which cause symptoms, such as runny nose and sneezing.
Common Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms can vary widely from patient to patient. Symptoms may be mild or severe. In some cases, they could even produce anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction characterized by dramatic skin rash, shock, difficulty breathing, nausea or vomiting. Common Utah allergy symptoms may include:
- Hay fever: sneezing, itchy nose or eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, watery/red eyes
- Cough, chest tightness or shortness of breath
- Reddened, flaking or peeling skin
Getting Tested for Allergies
If you decide to pursue allergy testing and treatment, you may be advised to see an ENT doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and inquire about your medical history, as well as your symptoms. It may be helpful to track your symptoms and write down foods you ate or allergens you know you were exposed to around the time of the symptoms. If your allergy is caused by foods, your doctor will provide additional instruction in tracking foods and eliminating foods from your diet.
Patients may be advised to have one or both of the following allergy tests:
- Skin Test: Potential allergens are introduced to the arm via small pinpricks. A raised bump could indicate an allergic reaction to the introduced substance.
- Blood Test: Commonly called RAST or ImmunoCAP testing, these allergy tests take a small blood sample, which is sent to a lab for testing.
What can I do for my allergies?
Your ENT doctor may be able to treat your allergies through helping you identify and avoid the substances that trigger your allergic reaction. This is the primary step in allergy treatment. Additionally, your ENT physician may prescribe a medication or recommend an over-the-counter drug. Severe allergies may respond well to immunotherapy, a treatment that involves a series of injections over the course of several years. Lastly, if your allergic reactions are severe, your doctor may prescribe an emergency epinephrine shot, which you can self-administer as necessary.
Allergy Treatment in Magna and West Valley City
Find allergy treatment near you with ENT Clinic of Utah. With locations in both Magna and West Valley City, you can get the care you need… close to home. Don’t suffer another season! Schedule an appointment today for allergy testing and treatment. Call 801-912-8270.