Texas Family Practice Associates
Samuel L. Siegler, II, MD
Family Practice Physician & Primary Care located in Houston, TX
Allergies. This one simple word encompasses an astonishing number of variations, symptoms, and causes, all of which boil down to your body’s reaction to something it identifies as dangerous. Allergies are triggered by substances as broad as leaf pollen to a specific ingredient in food, and everything in between. At Texas Family Practice Associates, Dr. Samuel Siegler II specializes in diagnosing and treating seasonal and food allergies in patients in the Houston area. To get a handle on your allergies, call or book an appointment online.
Allergies Q & A
What is an allergy?
Before diving into diagnosing and treating allergies, it’s helpful to step back and understand what an allergy is. An allergy describes the reaction (many say overreaction) your body has to a substance -- an “allergen” -- it perceives as harmful. When your body encounters an allergen, your immune system kicks in and creates an antibody called immunoglobulin E. It’s these antibodies that create your allergic reaction.
What are seasonal allergies?
About 8% of the United States population suffers from seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever. An overwhelming majority of hay fever is caused by airborne pollens from plants like trees, grasses, and weeds, especially during high-pollen seasons like spring and summer. Seasonal allergies are also caused by indoor allergens like mold or pet dander.
Hay fever symptoms are unique to each person. You may share the same allergy with someone, but your body may react completely differently. That said, the most common reactions that usually indicate the presence of seasonal allergies include:
- Watery, runny eyes
- Itchy nose
- Rash or hives
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling in your mouth or throat
- Anaphylaxis -- only in severe cases
What are food allergies?
Food allergies are typically discovered in babies and children and only rarely develop in adulthood. Some people carry a food allergy throughout their entire lives, while many outgrow the allergy. The most common food allergies involve:
- Tree nuts
The most common symptoms of food allergies are:
- Vomiting or stomach cramps
- Trouble swallowing
- Swelling of the tongue
- Anaphylaxis, in severe cases
What is the treatment for allergies?
Once Dr. Siegler determines which allergens are the culprits behind your reactions (which is usually determined through blood or skin tests), he sits down with you to go over a treatment plan. It’s important to note that allergies can’t be cured and treatment involves managing your symptoms. This management depends on the severity of your allergic reactions and includes:
- Trigger avoidance
- On-the-spot medications
- Regular oral medications, such as antihistamines
- Immunotherapy shots
- Lifestyle and environment modifications
If allergies are interfering with your daily routine, contact Texas Family Practice Associates to learn how to successfully manage them.