Think You Might Have Allergies? What You Should Know

Once you reach a certain age, you tend to think you know your body pretty well. However, if you have never experienced allergies before, you may find yourself confused and surprised if you start to notice itchiness, sneezing, and other typical seasonal allergy symptoms in yourself. Get to know some of the important facts about allergies and how they can be diagnosed and treated. Then you can be sure that you are handling your allergy-like symptoms in the best way possible. 

Allergies Can Develop at Any Age

Perhaps the most important thing to know about allergies is that allergies can develop at any age. Most people assume that if they are going to have allergies, they will have them as children, but this is not necessarily the case. 

You can develop allergies as an adult that you never had when you were younger. This includes food sensitivities and allergies. So, do not automatically discount your allergy-like symptoms as a summer cold or other transient health condition. You very well could have adult-onset allergies. 

Allergy Skin Testing Is the Only Way to Be Sure

If you are thinking about just putting yourself on an antihistamine and calling it a day, this would also be a mistake. While over-the-counter allergy medications may help, you would not know what allergies you were treating, and if it turns out you do not have allergies, you would be taking unnecessary medications that can have side effects on your body. 

The only way to be sure that you have allergies and to know what you are allergic to is to have an allergy skin test performed by an allergist. Allergy skin tests involve taking tiny liquid droplets of potential allergens and injecting them just beneath the surface of the skin. The doctor will wait 15 to 30 minutes and then check the skin. If a bump (like a mosquito bite or larger) has developed in the place where a potential allergen was injected, you are allergic to it.

Treatment and Management Can Help

Knowing what you are allergic to is half the battle. The remaining half is getting treatment for those allergies. Your doctor may recommend, for example, that you get allergy shots to help you deal with your allergies. These shots help you build up your immunity to the allergens by exposing your body to injected forms of the allergens. The body will react strongly at first and then over time, the reactions will become more mild and you will have less trouble with those allergens in the real world. 

Prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications are also viable options for allergies as are nasal steroids and other types of medications. Some are taken seasonally when symptoms are at their worst while others are taken year round to help manage allergies no matter what time of year it is. 

Now that you know more about allergies and how they can be diagnosed and treated, you can contact an allergist as soon as possible to schedule your allergy skin testing appointment.