Statistics compiled by the National Institutes of Health suggest that more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. If you’re among them, you understand just how uncomfortable and inconvenient allergies can be. Starting treatment with Dr. Michele Martinho at her Gramercy, New York City practice is the first step in finding lasting relief. Book your visit today by calling the office, or try the simple online scheduling tool.
Allergies are considered a chronic disease because they occur often and last a significant amount of time. An allergy develops when your body’s immune system identifies one or more substances as potentially harmful and launches a reaction.
Substances that trigger allergic reactions are known as allergens. Some of the more common allergens include:
Some men and women are allergic to only one substance, while others suffer from multiple allergies.
Allergy symptoms can vary, and your experience may be different from that of others who share your allergy. In fact, your symptoms can even vary from one attack to the next.
Some of the more common symptoms of allergies include:
As you can see, allergy symptoms can mimic the signs of many other medical conditions. That can make it hard to pinpoint the source of your complaints.
Dr. Michele Martinho begins with a thorough health history and physical exam. There are several tests that can check for allergies, including skin and blood tests.
A skin prick test is one of the most common diagnostic tools for allergies. The process involves placing a very small drop of a potential allergen on your skin, then using a medical tool to create a small prick or scratch just under the drop. If you’re allergic to the substance, your skin will turn red, swell, or become irritated. Another skin test requires injecting a small volume of an allergen into your skin.
Blood screening works by searching your blood sample for reactions as allergens are introduced. There are limitations to blood testing, however, and it’s not the first choice in diagnosing allergies.
One of the most powerful ways to avoid allergic reactions is learning to identify and avoid the allergens you’re most sensitive to. Dr. Martinho helps you learn how to remove as many allergens as possible from your daily environment.
Medications can also help treat allergies. Some work by reducing swelling, others block histamine or prevent your body from releasing histamine. Decongestants can help with a stuffy nose, and corticosteroids can help with itchiness and rashes. Severe allergies can be treated with injectable epinephrine.
If you’re living with allergies, schedule an appointment with Dr. Martinho online or by calling her office to explore diagnosis and treatment options.