What Are Respiratory Allergies?
Sneezing is not always the symptom of a cold. You may be suffering from Allergic Disease which is a disease of the immune system and the 5th most prevalent chronic disease in the U.S. It is estimated that around 35 million Americans experience upper respiratory tract symptoms due to allergic reactions to airborne allergens.
One of the most common chronic diseases in the U.S. is pollen allergy, also called hay fever. Airborne allergens are the biggest cause of problems for people who have allergies. Around 17 million people in the U.S. are affected with respiratory symptoms of asthma, most commonly provoked by airborne allergens.
Overall, allergic diseases are one of the leading causes of disability and illness in the United States. Resulting in 6 million work and school days lost and 16 million doctor visits each year. You can read more about allergy statistics and facts here.
Respiratory Allergy Symptoms
Is it an allergy or a cold? Both of these conditions share many of the same symptoms, making it difficult to tell the difference. However, allergy symptoms usually last longer than cold symptoms. The signs and symptoms of respiratory allergies are familiar to many. They consist of:
- A runny or clogged nose
- Itching eyes, nose, throat
- Watery eyes
- Raccoon eyes
- Stomach problems
- Fatigue and reduced work performance
- Sleep loss (sleeplessness)
- Dry skin
Certain people with allergy symptoms may develop asthma, which is considered a serious condition. The symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is caused by the contraction of airways in the lungs, inflammation, and excess mucus production. Asthma can often be disabling and in rare cases, even fatal. If you experience wheezing and shortness of breath together with symptoms of allergies, this may be a sign that your airways have also become involved.
Respiratory Allergy Types and Causes
There are many different types of respiratory allergies. They are caused by breathing air that contains allergens, which creates an allergic reaction.
- Spring allergies – most commonly triggered by pollen. Tiny grains of pollen get released into the air by trees, grasses, and weeds to fertilize other plants.
- Summer allergies – commonly provoked by pollen from weeds and grasses.
- Fall allergies – caused by mold, dust mites, and ragweed.
- Winter allergies – those with indoor allergies such as mold and dust mites, may experience increased symptoms when spending time outside.
- Hay fever – also known as allergic rhinitis, an immune system disorder.
- Pollen allergies – over 25 million Americans are allergic to pollen from weeds, grass, and trees.
- Mold allergy – we are all exposed to some mold on a daily basis, which normally, doesn’t cause any problems. But certain people have allergic reactions to it.
- Dust allergy – dust mites sure cause a lot of trouble for creatures you can’t even see.
- Dog allergy – living in a dog-loving country isn’t easy for people with dog allergies. Around 37 to 47 percent of American households have a dog.
- Cat allergy – Approximately 10% of Americans have pet allergies and cats are the biggest culprits. Cat allergies affect twice as much people as dog allergies.
Allergy Tests in Brooklyn, NY
People with respiratory illness lasting more than a week or two should consult a health care provider. To find out if you have any allergic reactions, you can get an allergy testing procedure performed by our trained allergy specialists. Allergy testing can be in the form of a skin test or a blood test.
Allergy Skin Tests
We can perform skin tests to uncover many potential allergens. This includes airborne, contact, and food-related allergens. There are three different types of allergy skin tests, scratch, intradermal, and patch tests. Our allergist will use weak extracts from allergens like pollens, molds, or dust mites that are commonly found in the New York area.
We will inject the extract of each type of allergen under your skin or apply it to a small puncture or scratch on the arm using a special tool. Afterward, we will closely monitor the reaction on your skin. If there will be any swelling, localized redness, itchiness, or elevation of the skin, it means you are allergic to that specific allergen.
Another test we may perform is a skin patch test (T.R.U.E. TEST). An adhesive patch filled with the suspected allergens is placed on your skin. You will leave our Brooklyn office with this patch. After a 48 hour period, you will return so that we may review the patches.
Allergy Blood Tests
If there is a possibility that you will have a severe allergic reaction to an allergy skin test or if you have skin conditions such as eczema, we will conduct an allergy blood test instead. A blood sample is taken and tested in a Brooklyn laboratory to detect levels of IgE antibodies that fight specific allergens. Allergy blood testing is highly successful in detecting major allergens.
Allergy Immunotherapy Treatment (AIT)
Allergy immunotherapy treatment is a series of allergy shots offered in our clinics in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, NYC. Currently, it’s the only treatment available to effectively reduce allergy symptoms over an extended period of time. It gradually changes your immune system, enabling your body to prevent the development of new allergies.
How do allergy immunotherapy shots work?
We will administer the allergy shots with increasing concentration of allergens that trigger your allergic reaction. These allergy shots carry just enough allergens to stimulate your immune system to reduce the level of IgE antibodies and produce a protective antibody called IgG.
Over time, we will increase the number of allergens in each of your allergy shots. This will enable your immune system to build up a tolerance to the allergens. Making your allergy symptoms decrease over time.
How long does allergy immunotherapy last?
Around 85% of people with allergic rhinitis will notice a significant reduction in allergy symptoms and need for medicines within 12 months of starting allergy immunotherapy treatment. Patients who benefit from allergy shots may consider stopping them after a 3 year period. Most patients obtain great results that last several years after stopping immunotherapy shots.
Why are allergy immunotherapy shots done?
You can use allergy shots to control symptoms caused by seasonal allergies, indoor allergens, and insect stings. Allergy shots are the ideal treatment choice for many different situations:
- Allergy medications aren’t effective at reducing your symptoms
- You’re unable to avoid things that cause your allergy symptoms
- You take other medications that aren’t compatible with allergy medications
- You don’t want to depend on allergy medication
- If you are allergic to insect stings
Do you have questions about Allergy Testing or Allergy Immunotherapy Treatment? Would like to schedule an appointment with the leading allergists of Professional Gynecological Services? Please contact our office for a consultation with our immunotherapy specialists in Brooklyn.