Millions of Americans suffer from environmental allergies. Environmental allergies are the result of an immune system overreaction to a variety of outdoor and indoor triggers called allergens. This immune system response is often referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Environmental allergies affect both children and adults alike.
Symptoms of Environmental Allergies
Allergy symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, both in severity and type. However, common symptoms typically include:
- Runny nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip (mucus running down the back of the throat), and/or sneezing
- Itchy, watery, red, and/or swollen eyes
- Sore or itchy throat
- Pain in the face and/or headaches
- Shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and/or coughing
- Dark under-eye circles
- Bodily itching, eczema, and/or hives
Causes of Environmental Allergies
Allergies occur when your immune system targets foreign substances that it deems harmful to the body, even though they aren’t. With exposure to a foreign substance, your immune system creates antibodies that attack the substance, often causing inflammation in your skin, sinuses, and/or airways. The most common environmental allergens include:
- Pollen, a fine powder that circulates through the air due to wind, insects, and animals. Sources of pollen change with weather and differ with climate. Typically, spring is a source of the most tree pollen, summer has the most grass pollen, fall features ragweed, and winter brings cedar pollen.
- Mold, which can thrive indoors and outdoors. Mold spores circulate in the air like pollen and typically increase after it rains. Unlike some pollens, mold can cause problems year-round.
- Dust, which is typically the result of dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that can live on any upholstered surface, in carpets, bedding, and even stuffed toys. Because dust mites thrive in warm conditions, they can cause problems in the house all year round.
- Pet dander, which is the dead skin flakes your household pets shed on a daily basis. The protein that causes allergic symptoms can also be found in animal saliva and urine, but pet dander is especially problematic due to its ability to accumulate on a multitude of surfaces and circulate through the air.
- Cockroach waste, which is another common year-round allergy trigger.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Environmental Allergies
Environmental allergies can make a big negative impact on your daily life. Annoying symptoms can disrupt your sleep, school, and work, making it difficult to concentrate on important tasks. At Frontier Allergy Asthma and Immunology, all of our staff understand how difficult it can be to live with allergies and are here to help. Our allergy specialist has extensive knowledge and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of environmental allergies.
Environmental allergies testing
During your visit, your allergist will discuss your medical, symptom, and family history and perform a physical examination before moving forward with testing. There are a variety of testing options available for you, and your allergist will recommend one or more of these based on your individual needs. Allergy testing can include a skin prick test, an intradermal test, and/or a blood test. Skin tests are the most common type of allergy testing as they are safe and effective.
Environmental allergy treatment
Once you and your allergist have a better understanding of the source of your allergies, your allergist will work with you to formulate a unique treatment plan that will help you with symptom prevention and management. Your allergist will likely discuss medication(s), lifestyle changes, and immunotherapy options.
The first line of allergen defense is to minimze exposure to environmental allergy triggers. Preventing exposure to pollen will help reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life! You can also opt for medication management if you do not want to go for immunotherapy treatment.
Allergy Shots or Immunotherapy treatment
At Frontier Allergy Asthma and Immunology, we offer subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shot therapy) and sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drop therapy). Both of these methods can help increase your immune system’s tolerance to allergen exposure, thereby limiting your body’s immune response to specific allergens and curb those annoying allergy symptoms.
Next stepsIf you are interested in further discussion about your specific needs, Dr. Reshamwala is happy to see you and answer any questions you may have. Please call 512-382-1933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment today! Book an appointment
Written by: Dr. Neha Reshamwala
NPI number: 1780874578
Page last reviewed: 03/20/21