Allergies can make your life miserable. Fortunately, you have options to treat them. Allergy testing and treatment offered at Hope & Esperanza Community Health Center in Newark, New Jersey, by Virginia Atieh, FNP, and Selande Charles, FNP, help you find relief. Call today to set up your appointment or use the online tool to have your allergy symptoms evaluated.

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Why do allergies happen?

Allergies are often used to describe seasonal symptoms including general congestion, watery eyes, and sneezing. But, allergies can be linked with several other items, including dust, pollution, foods, and pet dander. 

An allergy happens when your immune system has an unusual reaction to something that is otherwise harmless. Allergies can affect your sinuses and airway, your skin, or your gastrointestinal tract.  When you come into contact with these triggers, you experience symptoms such as sneezing, digestive distress, or a rash. 

Asthma can sometimes occur as a result of allergies, but it is a separate condition that describes inflammation of your respiratory system. 

What symptoms indicate that I have allergies?

Allergy symptoms can sometimes mimic other conditions, like the common cold. But, if you notice symptoms occur chronically, regularly at certain times of the year, or in response to a certain trigger, suspect an allergy. 

Common allergy symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat

If these symptoms are accompanied by a fever, it’s likely a virus or bacterial infection causing your symptoms — not allergies. Allergies can also show up as a rash or as digestive distress, like diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

What is involved in allergy testing?

If your symptoms suggest an allergy, your provider may recommend allergy testing. You may undergo a simple skin test, which involves a prick of your skin and application of a liquid version of the suspected allergen. If itching, swelling, or redness appears at the site, it’s likely an allergic reaction. You can be tested for more than one allergy at once.

Skin testing is most useful for airborne allergens, like pollen and mold. In the case of food allergies, a blood test may be recommended as a more reliable assessment. 

What is the treatment for allergies?

Oral and inhaled medications can help with allergies, especially seasonal varieties. If you are allergic to a specific food or substance, avoidance is a smart strategy. The providers can help identify your triggers and teach you how to avoid them, such as changing your diet and avoiding outdoor exercise during times when allergens are at their peak. 

For adults and children with severe allergies that cause anaphylaxis, the providers may recommend you carry epinephrine injections to prevent a medical emergency. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction in which you experience shortness of breath, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and other potentially life-threatening symptoms. 

To get your allergies evaluated and treated, call Hope & Esperanza Community Health Center today for an appointment or use the online tool to book.