Effective allergy treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis but unfortunately many Americans are choosing to skip this step, relying on guesswork and self-diagnosis to guide their own self-treatment. This is compounded by the many unreliable and inaccurate allergy testing kits available over the counter which can lead to a misdiagnosis. False-positives cause anxiety and unnecessary lifestyle changes while a false-negative can lead to someone not taking action when they need to, increasing their risk of a severe reaction in the future.
The only way to get a truly reliable result is to visit an allergist specialist at an asthma & allergy clinic. An expert can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and a full range of options for managing your condition effectively.
Tests are typically done using skin or blood tests, with skin testing being the preferred method for most situations as results typically appear within 20 minutes. As the tests are done using an allergen there may be some small discomfort if a reaction occurs and there is a very small possibility of a more severe reaction – but by visiting an expert you know you are safe with someone trained for every possibility.
If you are taking certain medicines, have a skin condition (such as eczema) or you are highly likely to have a severe reaction then your specialist may choose to use a blood test instead of a skin test. The allergy specialist will know which test is best for you or your child based on your circumstances and medical history.
Using their training and experience, a true asthma and allergy clinic will be able to make a diagnosis regardless of your skin type, substantially reducing the risk of misinterpretation, misdiagnosis or mismanagement of your condition.
Once you have an accurate diagnosis the specialist will be able to make recommendations on changes to your lifestyle and diet to enable you to effectively manage your condition, reduce the risk of a severe reaction and increase your quality of life.
Allergies and asthma are not the same thing but the two conditions are closely related. Allergens are the cause of an allergy attack. In some cases the allergens can take the attack one more step and asthma occurs. When this happens the condition is called allergic asthma.
There are many types of allergens; they can include dust, animal dander, mites, pollen, smoke, and mold, just to name a few. Exercise can exacerbate the condition. The condition can be so irritable that a working knowledge of allergy and asthma care can save you some grief. The following are a sampling of treatments your doctor might suggest.
Allergy-Triggered Asthma Treatment Options
- Short-Acting Bronchodilators (Rescue Inhalers). These are quick-acting, a real Johnny-on-the-spot solution. It’s always a good idea to pack one and the effects can last 4 to 6 hours. They function by dilating, or opening up, the airways leading to your lungs.
- Long-acting Bronchodilators. These are similar to the short-acting models except that a dose is good for about 12 hours so 2 treatments per day are required. Your doctor will most likely also prescribe inhaled steroids.
- Inhaled Corticosteroids. These are a step up in strength from the above-mentioned inhalers. A key benefit is that they can assist in keeping your lungs functioning better following future asthma attacks.
- Anti-Leukotriene Medications. there are many pills that inhibit leukotrienes, which are molecules that trigger inflammation in your airways. Some pills are more popular than others, check with your allergist specialist for which pill is best suited for your situation.
- Antibody Treatments. These are considered a a last-resort medication for asthma that hasn’t responded well to other treatments.
Avoiding Allergens in the First Place
As much as it is possible, it benefits the sufferer to avoid allergens so as to minimize the amount of allergy and asthma care needed. In the seasons where the amount of pollen is high, try to stay indoors as much as possible. Refer to the daily allergen count on your local weather website.
Be sure that your HVAC return air filter has a filtration rating that your condition warrants. Don’t smoke or allow smoking in your home. Try to avoid contact with pets during an asthma attack. Dander is not your friend.
For more information on allergy-triggered asthma and the treatment options that are best suited for your situation, contact your local clinic. Our allergy and asthma clinics are located for our patient’s convenience and we are bilingual English/Spanish.