6751 North 72nd Street - Suite 207, Omaha, NE 68122     Tel. 402-572-3165
1600 Diamond Street, Onawa, IA 51040     Tel. 712-423-9363
2020 1st Ave South, Denison, IA 51442     Tel. 712-263-5021
723 W Fairview St, Albion, NE 68620     Tel. 402-395-2121
Columbus Otolaryngology Clinic     Tel. 402-563-4500

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Allergy

Allergies are a common condition affecting more than one out of every 5 people. Allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system triggered by a typically harmless substance. This substance, such as pollen, mold or animal dander, is known as an allergen. When a person is exposed to an allergen, their body produces antibodies and releases a variety of chemicals including histamine. Histamine is the main cause for most allergy symptoms. Most allergies are inherited. People with asthma are more likely to suffer from allergies. Since most allergens are found in the air, the reaction occurs in the eyes, nose and lungs. If the allergen is ingested, the reaction can occur in the mouth or stomach..

Most allergic reactions result in mild symptoms that include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itching or rashes. Moderate or severe reactions, called anaphylaxis, are rare but can be life-threatening and cause abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting and dizziness. Bee stings, penicillin and peanuts can cause more serious reactions.

Allergies can be seasonal and only cause reactions during certain times of the year. This condition is known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever and is usually caused by pollen and other allergens that are in the air from March until November. These allergies can be affected by the weather.

Allergy treatments are usually prescribed in the form of over-the-counter or prescription medication. Antihistamines prevent the reaction caused by the release of histamine and reduce symptoms. Decongestants unblock nasal passages and improve breathing. Nasal sprays keep the nasal passages clean and moist and limit the reaction to allergens. But the most effective treatment in relieving allergy symptoms is simply to avoid the allergen. Wearing sunglasses while outside and washing your hands frequently can help to keep you free of contamination.

Allergy Screening

Screening for allergies is important in determining the cause of your troubling symptoms, and also in identifying the specific allergens that trigger your reactions. Identifying the specific cause of your symptoms lets you avoid these triggers as much as possible to reduce the frequency of symptoms.

There are several different tests available to identify allergens. Blood tests are among the most common which screen the blood for any type of allergy indicators. This test scans the blood for any antibodies that are made in response to allergens. While blood tests can screen the body for a wide range of allergies that may not even produce symptoms, they are not as sensitive as other types of tests. The blood test results give us a safer way to proceed with skin testing.

Skin tests use specific allergens to see if they trigger reactions on the skin. This is done at Family ENT by using the intradermal method. A small amount of antigen is placed under the skin. The skin is watched for specific reactions to the antigens. After testing with a positive reaction patients will be started on allergy shots.

You may need to stop taking antihistamines or other medications before undergoing these tests, so speak to your doctor in order to achieve the most effective results.

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The Latest (Allergy Season)

The winter allergy season is upon us, bringing with it the pollen, grass and mold that causes our sniffling, sneezing and itchy eyes. While there are many treatments available to treat allergy symptoms, the most effective approach is to identify your specific allergens and prevent symptoms before they occur. At Family ENT, we provide comprehensive Allergy Screening and Treatments to help you through the season.