Allergies can cause seasonal afflictions like hay fever, as well as digestive upsets, skin rashes, and asthma. Wasatch Allergy and Asthma is a specialty medical center with offices in Salt Lake City and Riverton, Utah. The practice has a team of allergy specialists, including allergist Eric Chenworth, DO, that's available to help you minimize and relieve the effects of allergies. Severe allergies can seriously reduce your quality of life and even prove life-threatening if you’re at risk of anaphylaxis. Take control of your allergies by calling Wasatch Allergy and Asthma, or you can request an appointment online.
Allergies are a response by the immune system to a substance in the environment, called an allergen, that ordinarily wouldn’t cause a problem. Substances that may cause allergic reactions include:
When you have an allergy, your body becomes hypersensitive to these substances, causing unpleasant and sometimes dangerous symptoms.
You might already have a good idea of what you’re allergic to. For example, if you start sneezing whenever you get near a cat or dog, pet dander is likely the problem.
However, allergy triggers are not always clear, so the team at Wasatch Allergy and Asthma needs to carry out some tests to determine the allergen(s) responsible for your symptoms.
You can undergo testing for allergies in several ways:
Skin prick testing involves putting a tiny amount of a potential allergen on your skin and then pricking the area, so the substance goes into the skin. Your provider observes the treated area for 15-20 minutes to see if there’s any reaction. Intradermal testing is similar but involves injecting the suspected allergen under your skin.
Patch testing involves wearing patches containing allergens on your back for three days. If you have allergic contact dermatitis or atopic dermatitis, your skin reacts to the patch to confirm the diagnosis.
If you have a food or medication allergy, a challenge test is the best way to confirm the problem. The challenge involves ingesting small portions of the suspect food or medication and then gradually increasing the amount to see if there’s an allergic response.
If you have asthma, an inhaled bronchial challenge test using methacholine can determine the level of irritability in your airways and assess the severity of your condition. You might also need to undergo breathing capacity tests.
Treatment for your allergy depends on the cause. For asthma, using inhaled medications is the most common approach. Rescue inhalers are used to treat acute asthma symptoms, and steroid medication is one of the most effective treatments for long-term management. You might benefit from taking antihistamines, and if you have a food allergy, you must avoid the food.
Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment approach to certain allergies in which you receive small doses of the allergen that triggers your symptoms. The idea of immunotherapy is to expose you to increasing quantities of the allergen over an extended period so that your body’s immune system learns to tolerate the substance.
You can have allergy drops (sublingual immunotherapy) where you absorb the allergen in drops that go under your tongue. Or you can have allergy shots, where your provider at Wasatch Allergy and Asthma gives you a series of injections.
To find out more about diagnosing and treating allergies, call Wasatch Allergy and Asthma today, or you can request an appointment online.