When you have allergies, life brings you new challenges every day. Pollen, pets, perfumes, even foods such as nuts or chocolate can cause an inflammatory reaction in the body that ranges from uncomfortable to life-threatening.
With a broad scope of treatment options and prevention strategies, the specialists at Stormont Vail Health can help you reduce or even eliminate symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, rashes and even asthma.
They also can help you pinpoint the specific triggers (allergens) that are causing allergic reactions in your body and develop a long-term control plan to improve your quality of life.
We treat people in all age groups, from newborns through seniors.
I Have an Allergy: What’s Happening in My Body?
Allergic reactions happen when the body’s immune system reacts to a harmless foreign substance such as a pollen or bee venom or pet dander or food that does not cause a reaction in most people.
These reactions can produce symptoms that affect different parts of the body including skin, nose, eyes, ears, sinuses, lungs and the digestive system. Often times allergies are misdiagnosed as recurrent infections.
The severity of these reactions are broad and range from minor irritations to systemic life-threatening reactions called anaphylaxis.
Treatments are available to relieve the symptoms and improve the quality of your life.
Common Allergens in Everyday Life
- Foods: Food allergy can affect any age group. The most common foods include soy, wheat, eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. The incidence of food allergy is 3%-4% in adults and up to 6% in children.
- Environmental allergens: These allergens are present in our surrounding environment and we are constantly exposed to them. They include pollen, mold, pet dander and dust mites.
- Pets: An animal’s fur can contain multiple allergens, such as saliva, urine, dust and pollen.
- Drugs: Drugs can cause allergic reactions as well. Unfortunately, a lot of patients are misdiagnosed with a drug allergy, which limits the choices to treat them. Allergy to medications such as penicillin can be safely tested in the clinic. Allergies to other medications can also be evaluated more accurately in an allergy clinic and hence prevent unnecessary avoidance of effective medications.
Common Manifestations of Allergies
Allergies affect the quality of life and unfortunately define it for some people. In some cases such as asthma and food allergies, an allergy can also be life-threatening.
- Nose, Sinus, Eyes, Ears: Allergies can cause nasal congestion, drainage, itching, sneezing, pain pressure and fullness over the sinuses, itching or watering of the eyes, popping pain and fullness in the ears and chronic cough.
- Asthma: A major portion of asthma is driven by allergies. Treating the allergies reduces the symptoms as well as the need for chronic medication.
- Skin Rashes: Allergies can cause atopic dermatitis as well as contact dermatitis.
- Systemic Allergic Reactions: Body wide reactions can unfortunately be precipitated by allergy to food or insect venom or medications and in some instances by environmental allergens.
What If I Just Buy Allergy Pills at the Grocery Store?
Many medications are available over the counter and are adequate to treat minor, occasional allergies. Ideally, they should be used in consultation with your physician to guide you to a good effective regimen.
For people with persistent, recurrent or hard to treat symptoms, an allergy specialist can perform a test to identify the underlying cause of your allergy and then develop a customized plan centered on you to control the symptoms, limit the medications and cost.
Allergy shots can especially make a big difference because as opposed to the medications that only control the symptoms, allergy shots treat the underlying problem and reprogram the immune system so that it stops reacting to the allergens.
Insurance companies have largely stopped paying for over-the-counter medications but allergy shots are still very well covered. As far back as in April 2000, the Journal “Respiratory Reviews” published a study that showed that the out-of-pocket costs for treating allergies with over-the-counter medications was running about $1200. This has only risen since then.
Treating the Whole Person, Not Just the Symptom
We recognize the need to work with the other physicians, including your primary care physician and other specialists such as pulmonologists in treating you. Our specialists regularly consult with your other physicians to understand your history and keep them updated on your condition and treatments.
Your primary care physician receives real-time updates on your diagnosis and treatment through your electronic medical records.
We also encourage you to keep seeing your primary care physician so that you can receive the comprehensive health care that you need.
Conditions We Treat
We provide comprehensive allergy and immunology care to all age groups, from newborns to elderly patients.
Following is a brief list of conditions we treat. If you do not find a specific condition, please contact us directly. We will assist you to find the help you need for yourself or your loved one.
- Rhino-Sinusitis and Conjunctivitis: Also known as hay fever. The symptoms include itchy watery eyes, stuffy runny nose, pain pressure and fullness over the sinuses, popping fullness and pain in the ears, constant sore throat and pain.
- Asthma: Inflammation of the airways that cause shortness of breath.
- Chronic Cough
- Reactive Airway Disease: Difficulty breathing after an infection or exposure to irritants.
- Urticaria or Hives : Itchy swollen bumps of the skin.
- Angioedema or eneralized swelling of different parts of the body including limbs, tongue and upper airway.
- Eczema / Atopic Dermatitis: also called eczema. Infants and children may have rash along with other symptoms. Adults have darker patches of red, very dry skin, scaly skin or other symptoms.
- Contact Allergy
- Shortness of Breath with Exercise
- Anaphylaxis: systemic allergic reactions that can be life threatening
- Food Allergies
- Drug Allergy
- Gastrointestinal Disorders (including eosinophilic esophagitis
Immune deficiencies): Weakness of the immune system that makes one susceptible to recurrent infections.
An allergy generally means your immune system has gone into overdrive. But some people suffer from the opposite problem – an underactive immune system. This can result from a virus, certain medications or even rare genetic conditions.
Our allergy and immunology specialists also see patients who are suffering from a weakened immune system and facing the resulting medical issues, such as recurring infections, a poor response to treatment for infections and difficulty recovering from illnesses.
Our Treatments and Services
We strive to provide you with state of the art cutting edge treatments close to home. We are constantly improving and adding services and keeping up with the advances in our specialty.
Please contact us directly if you need a service that is not listed below. We will be happy to look into it and help out to the best of our potential.
For allergies, our tests and treatments can include:
Allergy TestingIncludes skin testing, blood testing, patch testing
Allergy AssessmentAssessment of skin, throat, nose, blood in lung function as it pertains to allergy/immunology
Allergy ShotsAllergy shots for treating environmental allergies
Oral Food ChallengeOral Challenges under direct supervision to diagnose and treat reactions to foods
Medication DesensitizationThis treatment allows you to use a medication that you are allergic to.
Food Allergy Immunotherapy ProgramWe are one of the few practices in the country that offer a breakthrough oral immunotherapy program for patients with food allergies. Our treatment provides a long-term solution for these patients. It usually takes less than 6 months, and at the end of the program, most patients are able to consume these foods with no allergic reactions.
Rush ImmunotherapyWe value your time. Rush immunotherapy offers a number of advantages over traditional allergy shot protocols, including fast relief and fewer setbacks due to asthma or shot reactions.
Immunoglobulin Therapy for Immune Deficient Patients
New Biologic Therapies
Meet Our Immunologists
At Stormont Vail Health, our immunologists are passionate about bringing the most advanced allergy and asthma treatment to the community.
We believe that the cornerstone of quality care is access. We’re available to answer your questions on the phone or in emails through MyChart. Our physicians also go into the community and treat patients at our outreach clinics, which might be closer to your home. Our goal is to make treatment more convenient for you.