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Source: Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America 

Allergies are one of the most common chronic diseases. A chronic disease lasts a long time or occurs often. An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it. 

The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens. When someone has allergies, their immune system makes an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies respond to allergens. The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction. 

What Are the Types of Allergens? 

  • Drug (medicine) 

  • Food 

  • Insects that sting (bee, wasp, fire ant), bite (mosquito, tick), or are household pests (cockroach and dust mite) 

  • Latex 

  • Mold 

  • Pet (dog or cat urine, saliva, and dander) 

  • Pollen 

What Are the Symptoms of Allergies? 

The most common allergy symptoms can simply make you uncomfortable. For example, you may have watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, a rash or hives. Other more serious symptoms, like trouble breathing and swelling in your mouth or throat, may be a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis [anna-fih-LACK-sis]. 

How Do Doctors Diagnose Allergies? 

Doctors diagnose allergies in three steps. They review your personal and medical history, they give you a physical exam and they conduct tests to identify the allergens. 

What Are the Treatments for Allergies? 

Good allergy treatment is based on your medical history and the severity of your symptoms. It can include three different treatment strategies: avoidance of allergens, medication options and/or immunotherapy (a treatment to train your immune system not to overreact). 

How Can I Prevent an Allergic Reaction? 

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid your allergens to the best of your ability. It’s not possible to avoid all outdoor activities if you’re allergic to bees and wasps, but there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of being stung. It is important to prepare and have an allergy action plan. Keep medication with you at all times so you can treat an allergic reaction.  

Allergies affect as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children in the United States. Talk to your Campbell County Medical Group Wright Clinic provider if you are struggling with allergies. Schedule an appointment with us at 307.464.0413. 

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