Associates of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates that more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. While that number is jarring, additional statistics show that approximately one out of six Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis. The following information will describe what allergic rhinitis is, what triggers it and why consulting an allergist as opposed to your primary care physician is the best course of action to take if you believe that you may be living with allergies.
What is allergic rhinitis?
Allergy means “strange activity” in Greek. Rhinitis, also Greek in origin, literally means “condition of the nose.” Therefore, allergic rhinitis, which is also referred to as hay fever, can be defined as a condition in which irritants cause “inflammation of the nose or its mucous membrane.”
What causes allergies?
Pollen is a powdery fertilizing agent that flowering plants release in order to fertilize other plants. It helps create beautiful gardens, but pollen also makes it difficult for people with seasonal allergies to enjoy them.
Pollen, which is transported through the air, attaches itself to a person’s hair, skin and clothing. When people who are sensitive to pollen breathe in pollen-laden air, typical symptoms include “sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy throat and eyes and wheezing.”
Pollen and debris from an animal’s coat or feathers are two of the most common irritants that trigger allergic rhinitis symptoms. However, it is worth mentioning that pollen is not just limited to flowers. For example, certain trees, grasses, and desert plants like cacti are also pollen-heavy. Additionally, dust and chemicals from pipe, cigar and cigarette smoke are other windborne irritants, and all the above can be particularly tough on people living with allergies. This is just one reason why attempting to self-medicate with over the counter medicine is not advised.
Why do you need to see an allergist instead of your primary care physician?
Unlike general physicians, allergists are physicians who have completed additional training programs that allow them to effectively diagnose and treat asthma and allergic diseases. The following list describes some of the health issues that an allergist-immunologist treats:
- hay fever
- hives (ACAAI)
What should you expect when you visit an allergist?
An allergist-immunologist will conduct a thorough medical history and physical exam. Skin and blood tests may also be incorporated in order to determine exactly what substances are causing allergic reactions. This is typically done in an in-house testing lab. The new client visit could take up to two hours. Once the irritants have been identified, allergists will create a treatment plan that may include dietary recommendations, inoculations and other medication specifically designed for their clients’ needs.
Is there a cure for allergies?
Unfortunately, no. However, immunotherapy and specialty medicines as well as education, can greatly reduce the symptoms that people living with allergies would normally experience by attempting to self-medicate, which can be dangerous. By consulting a top Phoenix allergist, these individuals can avoid wasting time, money and possibly putting their health at risk and focus on enjoying life.
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. (n.d.). Retrieved from acaai.org/
Allergy | Define Allergy at Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from dictionary.com/browse/allergy
Rhinitis | Define Rhinitis at Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from dictionary.com/browse/rhinitis
American Board of Allergy and Immunology:. (n.d.). Retrieved from abai.org
Allergy Facts | AAFA.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from aafa.org/page/allergy-facts.aspx
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