Sep 1, 2021
What Are Allergies and Why Is It Important To Treat Them?
5 minute read
Allergies are annoying, stubborn, and difficult to handle. Dealing with symptoms (like sneezing, sore throat, a constant itch, runny nose and difficulty breathing) on a daily basis can quickly wear you out, and it’s easy to feel like nothing is going to help you find relief.
Luckily, allergies are treatable in many cases, thanks to modern medicine and a custom prescription. With the help of an experienced allergist, you really can find relief from your allergy symptoms!
At Cleared, we’re passionate about helping allergy sufferers finally conquer their symptoms. We work hard alongside an allergist team to equip you with a personalized treatment plan that targets your specific allergy triggers (such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and more). In this post, we’ll be exploring how we tackle allergy symptoms and the factors that cause those symptoms in the first place.
As lifelong allergy sufferers ourselves, we know how hard it can be to wake up in the morning and immediately start sneezing, itching, and blowing your nose. Because we know what it’s like, we want to make sure that you’re equipped with all the information you need to live an allergy-free life – and a great place to start is right here.
First Off: What Are Allergies, Anyway?
An allergic reaction happens when your immune system responds to a non-threatening substance as if it is a threat to your health. In other words, something that won’t harm you comes into contact with your body, but your defenses against getting sick misidentify it as something harmful, and they kick into gear. When this happens, your immune system triggers an inflammatory response that can vary in severity from mild to severe. Allergy symptoms are often just uncomfortable – sneezing, itchy eyes, rashes, etc. – but they can sometimes be dangerous if you have allergy-induced asthma for example. In most cases, seasonal allergy symptoms aren’t anywhere near putting your life in danger.
Environmental allergies are triggered by allergens that thrive during certain times of the year or all year long! These allergy triggers may be airborne, like pollen, and mold, or they might be found in your sheets, like dust mites. The symptoms you’ll experience due to environmental allergies are typically much more mild and manageable than reactions to food or medication. However, seasonal allergies can still be incredibly frustrating! They’re also quite common – over 60 million people in the US suffer from seasonal allergies. If you’re dealing with environmental allergy symptoms, they’re probably triggered by one or several of these allergens:
Dust Mites: These microscopic organisms can often cause allergy symptoms inside. They feed on the dead skin cells you shed and leave behind on bed sheets, carpets, and other soft surfaces. Dust mites thrive in warm, moist areas, and they can cause uncomfortable reactions year-round.
Pollen: The pollen dropped by trees, and other plants is a widespread allergy trigger because pollen can blow in the wind and travel for miles. Millions of people suffer from pollen allergies, and their symptoms can flare up at different times of the year, depending on the specific plants they’re allergic to. For example, people with ragweed pollen allergies often experience the worst symptoms in the fall.
Mold: People with allergies to this fungus may deal with symptoms both indoors and outdoors, especially during the coldest, darkest, wettest months of the year. Mold thrives in moist areas with minimal heat or light, and it’s often found in buildings with poor ventilation and too much humidity. If you have bad allergies indoors, mold might be the culprit!
How Are Allergies Diagnosed?
If you suspect that you have allergies, the first step towards finding relief is to get tested. Cleared can help you get tested for your allergies by using our at-home blood test kit or sending you to a near-by lab. Using a small sample of your blood, your Cleared allergist can see the specific triggers of your symptoms. Then, based on your results, you’ll be set up with a treatment plan that is tailor-made to meet your needs.
Why Treatment Matters
Allergies can sometimes be life-threatening, but this often isn’t the case. For many people, seasonal allergy symptoms are inconvenient and troublesome at worst, and sometimes they’re barely noticeable. Is it really necessary to get treated?
Yes! Environmental allergy symptoms can take a major toll on your quality of life, even if they’d fit in the “mild” category. Your symptoms can make it hard for you to sleep, negatively affect your work, and take a major toll on your mood. If you’re feeling irritated, overwhelmed, and exhausted regularly, don’t rule out your allergies as a possible cause!
Finding Treatment for Your Allergies Can Make Your Life Better
Since even the mildest allergies can negatively impact your life, the opposite is also true – finding relief from even the mildest symptoms can make you feel noticeably better!
If you tend to suffer from a runny nose and itchy eyes in the spring, finding an effective treatment strategy will help you to stop dreading when the end of March rolls around. Likewise, if you’re struggling with a year-round dust mite allergy, getting the relief that you need can completely transform your life.
If You Have a Condition Like Asthma, Allergies Can Make Your Symptoms Worse
Sometimes, it’s not just allergies that you’re dealing with – it’s asthma, too. This common condition can make it hard to breathe, especially when exposed to certain allergy triggers. Finding treatments for your allergies that work can often make it easier to deal with your asthma and vice versa.
Allergy Treatments Work!
Treatments like immunotherapy, immune system support, and daily relief medications can leave you feeling much better over time. Conquering your allergy symptoms isn’t as hard as you might think when you’ve got the help of a pro allergist!
Let’s explore these different types of allergy treatments below to help you get a sense of which one might be right for you.
What if you could train your immune system to stop reacting to your allergy triggers? That would mean no more symptoms! Thanks to immunotherapy that can be a reality.
Immunotherapy is an allergy treatment method that gradually lowers your immune system’s sensitivity to certain allergens. When you use immunotherapy treatments, you’re being exposed to tiny amounts of the allergens that you react to. Over time, these allergens can start to cause less and less of a reaction, helping you to get freedom from your symptoms finally.
Types of Immunotherapy
There are two primary types of immunotherapy: allergy shots and sublingual treatments. Shots are given in a doctor's office and FDA approved sublingual immunotherapy tablets can be taken from home. Even if you’re just dealing with troublesome symptoms for a few months of the year, immunotherapy can be a big help.
At Cleared, we specialize in sublingual immunotherapy treatments. We recommend this treatment method to patients with allergies to specific triggers, including grass pollen, ragweed, and others. We’re fans of sublingual treatments because they can be administered at home, giving you the chance to work remotely with an allergist to get the relief you need.
Relief Medication and Supplements
While immunotherapy is considered the leader of the pack when it comes to allergy treatments, several other options can help you get the relief you need. Daily medications like antihistamines and anti-inflammatories can take the edge off your symptoms, allowing you to live life to the fullest again. These medications are either available over the counter or prescribable by a doctor.
Based on your symptoms and allergy test results, your allergist will get you set up with a relief medication that is just right for you. To learn more, click here.
Supplements for Immune Support
In order to build up a strong defense against allergies, you’ll need your immune system to function at 100%. One of the best ways to boost your immunity is to supply your body with nutrients like vitamin C, zinc, vitamin A, and more. Each of these vitamins and minerals plays a crucial role in maintaining your immune system’s defenses against allergens.
It’s Time to Live Allergy-Free
Dealing with allergies can be exhausting, but you don’t have to suffer from your symptoms forever. Our team of experienced allergists are ready to help you find a treatment that works for you, and we’ll be by your side the whole way.
We never use a “one-pill-fits-all” mindset for allergy treatment because we know you, your circumstances, and your symptoms are unique. Instead, we’ll look closely at the root causes of your allergies and customize your treatment plan to make it perfect for you. Want to learn more? Click here.
Reviewed by Dr. Payel Gupta
Sources: Allergies and asthma: They often occur together Mayo Clinic 8 Vitamins for an Immune System Boost | Cleveland Clinic Allergy Immunotherapy | Allergy Treatment | ACAAI Public Website Seasonal Allergies at a Glance | NCCIH
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