Allergies are a defense mechanism in which the immune system mistakes a harmless substance, such as pollen or animal dander, for something harmful. When this happens, the body reacts to the foreign substance by releasing histamine and other chemicals that cause symptoms like sneezing, itchiness of the skin or sinuses, watery eyes, and a runny nose.
Each year, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, and it has become the sixth leading cause of chronic illness. Since there are so many forms of allergic reactions, it is important to understand what is causing these reactions, as not knowing can lead to serious health consequences.
Fortunately, there are allergists who are able to give accurate diagnoses and treatment options for many different allergic reactions, including hay fever, pet allergies, and food allergies. These allergists, also known as immunologists, are doctors who specialize in allergies, asthma, and other related conditions, like anaphylaxis.
3 Reasons to See an Allergist
Diagnose and Manage Asthma
Asthma is a condition that affects the respiratory system. It generally causes recurring bouts of wheezing, coughing and chest tightness. Having asthma can have serious consequences for your health and well-being because it makes it difficult to breathe normally. Asthma attacks are more common in children than adults, but they can happen at any age or time of year. Attacks also tend to be worse during cold weather months since people spend more time indoors with the windows closed, and air pollution levels are elevated.
Asthma has been linked to heart disease and stroke, as well as increased risk for low birth weight babies, meaning it is critical to see an allergist right away if you think you may have asthma.
Persistent Cold-Like Symptoms
A common cold is a viral infection of your upper respiratory tract and presents symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Slight body aches
- Mild headache
Most often, individuals recover from a cold within a week or ten days. If these symptoms persist or remain consistent in a pattern, they are likely caused by an allergy, rather than a virus. Therefore, if your “cold” lingers, it may be time to get tested for allergies.
A pregnant woman should see an allergist because allergies and prescribed treatments can have a range of effects on pregnancy and the developing baby.
As soon as you know that you are pregnant, it is important to make an appointment with your OB-GYN about seeing an allergist. This also provides the opportunity to re-evaluate any allergies and treatments necessary to keep you healthy and well during your pregnancy.
How an Allergist Can Help
If you believe you have asthma, are experiencing prolonged cold symptoms, or have recently become pregnant, visiting an allergist today at NEAAI will provide you with many benefits.
The primary benefit of seeing an allergist is that they have specialized training to diagnose what is causing your allergic reactions so that you can be treated accordingly. Not only will you be treated for your allergies or asthma, but you can also learn about newer, alternative allergy treatments if your current treatment plan is not effective.
The Importance of Visiting an Allergist During COVID-19
In times like these amidst a global pandemic, it is more important than ever to visit an allergist. Managing these underlying conditions is critical because allergies can make it significantly more difficult for your immune system to protect yourself against catching an infection.
In the case that you become ill with COVID-19, you need to be able to treat your asthma or allergic reactions, as their symptoms can exacerbate the severity of the virus. Those with moderate-to-severe or uncontrolled asthma are more at risk to be hospitalized with COVID-19.
Contact Northeast Allergy
At NEAAI, we are committed to accurately diagnosing and treating all forms of allergies. If you believe that you or a loved one may have undiagnosed allergies, or you have recently become pregnant, make an appointment with us here, or call (978) 537-4805 today.