Q: What are allergies?
Allergies are an immune system over-reaction to a commonly occurring substance.
Q: How can I tell if I have allergies or a cold?
Symptoms of allergies and colds can be similar. Here's how to tell the difference:
• Duration of Symptoms -
Colds generally last 7 to 10 days. Allergy symptoms can continue for much longer periods of time.
• Mucus -
Allergic discharge is thin, watery and clear. Cold discharge is thick and yellow or green.
• Onset of Symptoms -
Colds come on gradually.
• Sneezing -
Colds can make you sneeze, but sneezing is a more common allergic reaction, particularly if you sneeze more than two or three times in a row.
• Fever -
If you have a fever along with symptoms, you probably have a cold.
• Seasonal Symptoms -
Colds are more common in the winter. Allergies are more common in spring or fall.
Q: Do children outgrow allergies?
It is more likely that children will develop more allergies as they grow up rather than grow out of them. However, usually by the age three, children will outgrow most TypeI food allergies.
Q: What plants cause the most common pollen allergies?
Plants that do not bear flowers or fruit cause most of the problems. Their pollen can be blown through the air for miles.
Troublesome plants include:
• Weeds- Ragweed, sagebrush, redroot pigweed, lamb’s quarters, goosefoot and tumbleweed.
• Grasses- Timothy grass, Kentucky blue grass, Bermuda grass, redtop grass, orchard grass, sweet vernal grass, fescue, perennial rye, and velvet grass.
• Trees- Oak, elm, birch, ash, maple, alder, hazel, hickory, pecan, juniper, cedar, cypress, and sequoia.
Q: How are allergies diagnosed?
Your doctor will discuss your symptoms with you thoroughly. Then your doctor may choose to diagnose your allergies with either a skin test (intradermal), or a blood test (RAST).
Q: How are allergies treated?
Once an allergy is diagnosed, allergies are first treated by avoiding the allergen. If avoidance is not possible, the doctors may prescribe allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots).
In addition to the allergy shots, prescription medications may be necessary.
Q: Do I need to see a doctor if I think I have allergies?
Yes. It is important to see your doctor to determine if what you have is in fact an allergy or another medical condition. Proper diagnosis is essential for determining proper course of treatment. It is of utmost importance to determine if you have allergies, as untreated allergies can lead to more serious conditions such as sinusitis and asthma.
Q: What are the symptoms of an inhalant allergy?
Generally, the symptoms include: sneezing, headaches, watering eyes, itchy & red eyes, gritty feeling in the eyes, blocked nose, loss of smell or taste, blocked sinuses (sinusitis), and runny nose.