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.
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.
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:
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:
The most common symptoms of food allergies are:
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:
If allergies are interfering with your daily routine, contact Texas Family Practice Associates to learn how to successfully manage them.