What are the different types of allergies?
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 50 million people in the United States experience some type of allergy each year. It is the 6th leading cause of chronic illness. Allergies produce inflammation inside and outside of the body and can affect your ability to function. In a nutshell, allergies are no joke.
There are several different types of allergies:
- Environmental Allergies: Often airborne, these allergies are very common resulting in inflammation in your respiratory system, runny nose, weepy or itchy eyes, sneezing, and dark circles around your eyes. Asthma-like symptoms, such as shortness of breath or wheezing, are also common.
- Food Allergies: Also very common and more often overlooked, symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, bloating, and fatigue. If your environmental allergies last year-round, you may actually have a food allergy. Many food allergies are common food sensitivities that can be resolved.
- Contact Allergies: Such as poison ivy, poison oak, and bee stings. Symptoms include rashes, itching and bumps, and blisters. If you’re experiencing a severe contact allergy, please contact emergency services immediately.
- Autoimmune Allergies: An allergic reaction to any substance your body produces, such as an allergy to your own mucus or tears.
All allergies at their worst can cause a reaction called anaphylaxis, which is recognized as a rapid or difficulty breathing or swallowing, but also can be identified by fast heart rate, skin flushing, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, and shock.
Environmental and food allergies are the most common type of allergies, and they are what we focus on here at BackFit Health + Spine.
What environmental allergies are in season?
Environmental allergies vary from spring to summer to fall. Here are the most common allergy producers per season:
- Late winter and spring: Tree pollen
- Late spring and summer: Grass pollen
- Late summer and fall: Weeds pollen
You may feel the effects of one, two, or all three seasonal allergies. If you have all 3 or experience allergies year-round, you may actually be having an allergic reaction to the food you eat regularly or irregularly. Food intolerance and allergens include but are not limited to tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, shellfish, mustard, sulphites, etc. Long-term or continuous allergies can also weaken the immune system.
Some contact allergies are also year-round but are not related to food allergies, such as pet dander, dust mites, and mold.
BackFit also treats allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma.
What does BackFit do for allergies?
Before we discuss treatment options, first we test you through traditional skin testing procedures. A tiny amount of each allergen is applied to a different section of your arm and then measured after 15 minutes to observe what kind of reaction you have. We test over 50 types of allergies in a single test.
The allergy skin test is very appropriate for kids and adults alike, as there is no blood test so a blood draw is not necessary.
Once we confirm your allergies, we offer 2 treatment options:
- Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT): Custom serum oral treatment, great for kids.
- Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT): Also known as SubQ allergy shots.
Both the allergy serum and subcutaneous injection are highly effective at reducing or completely eliminating environmental allergy symptoms for most people.
Am I a good candidate for immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is appropriate for most people with mild, moderate, or severe allergies.
Immunotherapy is great if:
- Your current allergy medication is not providing adequate relief.
- Allergens are difficult for you to avoid, such as working outside.
- Your current allergy medication causes intolerable side-effects.
- Long-term use of your current medication is concerning you.
- You experience regular upper respiratory infections that require antibiotics.
- You’re cost-conscious or your current medication isn’t cost-effective.
Immunology is not recommended if you are pregnant, have severe uncontrolled asthma, have certain lung or heart problems, or if you take beta-blockers.
Immunology treats the root cause of your allergy problems. It also has the lowest potential for anaphylactic reactions (where your airways close due to allergens or the medication side effect).
It is specifically designed to improve your quality of life over standard medical therapies for allergies.