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Services - Allergies

Best Allergy Doctor Near Maryland & Northern Virginia

It’s not unusual for people to suffer year after year with uncomfortable symptoms without realizing that a board-certified allergist/immunologist can diagnose those allergies and provide tremendous relief. When allergies can result in decreased quality of life and pose severe risks to your well-being, why wait to see an allergy specialist? The team at Premier Allergist can help determine the cause of your allergic reaction and get you on the path to relief. If you or someone you care for is suffering, schedule an appointment with us today.

What is an allergic reaction?

In the event of an allergy, your immune system will mistake a normally harmless substance for something that is dangerous to your body. This reaction will cause your immune system to produce antibodies called “immunoglobulin E” (IgE), which attack the “danger” to protect you. Once they get to work, the antibodies create a range of minor or even serious symptoms. This reaction can occur when a person touches, swallows or inhales an allergen (the substance causing the reaction).

What are a few of the most common allergens?

Any substance can cause an allergic reaction, but here are some of the most common allergies we see in adults and children:

  • Food: peanuts, milk, egg, tree nuts
  • Insect stings: stings from bees, wasps, and hornets
  • Drug: penicillin, sulfa drugs, and insulin
  • Chemicals: Latex
  • Pets: dogs, cats, horses
  • Environmental Factors: dust mites, mold

What are some common allergy symptoms?

When a person is having an allergic reaction they may experience the following:

How can you diagnose and treat an allergy?

A medical specialist or allergist can diagnose an allergic condition through skin testing. This test helps determine what a person is allergic to by causing an allergic reaction in a controlled environment.

In most cases, avoiding the allergen completely is the most effective way to prevent a reaction. However, sometimes the allergen is unavoidable, especially in the case of inhalant allergies and stinging insect allergies. If this is your situation, your allergy specialist may prescribe medications such as antihistamines, leukotriene modifiers, and inhaled steroids or inhalers. For more long-term relief from allergies, allergy shots – also known as immunotherapy – are recommended.

How does immunotherapy work?

Immunotherapy happens in several phases. During the ‘build up’ phase, your doctor will provide increasing doses of allergy injections once or twice a week until a predetermined target (or ‘maintenance’) dose is reached.

Shots are usually administered every 1-4 weeks over the next several years of treatment, and symptoms will usually improve within the first year. In a small percentage of patients, there is no improvement; if this happens, your immunotherapy may be discontinued or you may be retested for a different allergy. However, when symptoms do improve, injections are usually continued for 4 to 5 years of maintenance therapy. At that time, you and your doctor will make a joint decision about whether to gradually taper and discontinue injections or to continue your treatment plan.

How common is a peanut allergy?

A peanut allergy is a food allergy to peanuts that causes an allergic reaction when touched, eaten, or digested. Allergic reactions to peanuts usually occur within minutes of exposure. The following are common symptoms of a peanut allergy:

Are all peanut allergies severe?

Any substance can cause an allergic reaction, but here are some of the most common allergies we see in adults and children:

What are some common allergy symptoms?

As seen above, the symptoms of a peanut allergy can be moderate to severe. The most dangerous possibility in the case of a peanut allergy is anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening due to a swelling of the throat which prevents breathing.

How can you diagnose a peanut allergy?

An allergist can help diagnose a peanut allergy through physical examination, elimination diet, allergy skin testing, and blood testing. If you are a parent, it’s important to know the symptoms of a peanut allergy so you can address them in your child as soon as possible.

Is there any special treatment for a peanut allergy?

Avoidance is the best treatment for a peanut allergy. However, accidents happen and it’s important to know how to prepare for or respond to an allergic reaction whether it’s minor or severe. For minor reactions, the team at Premier Allergist may prescribe antihistamines to relieve the symptoms.

Severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis may require you, your child, or your child’s school to carry an emergency epinephrine autoinjector or EpiPen with them at all times. If a severe allergic reaction occurs, use the EpiPen and go to the hospital or nearest emergency room.

Remember: Severe allergic reactions can be deadly. If someone is experiencing anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction, call 911 immediately.

What are the most common types of drug allergy?

A person can have a drug allergy to any drug, but the following are the most common types of drug allergies we see at Premier Allergist:

  • Penicillin
  • Insulin
  • Contrast Dyes
  • Anticonvulsants

How can a drug allergy be diagnosed?

As is the case with other allergies, it’s important to be on the lookout for common symptoms when taking a new drug, including:

A drug allergy can be diagnosed by your allergy specialist using skin testing or challenge testing.

How can a drug allergy be treated?

As always, the specialists at Premier Allergist believe that avoidance is the best possible treatment for a drug allergy. People with severe drug allergies should carry epinephrine (know as an EpiPen) at all times, and should consider wearing a medic-alert bracelet.

For severe allergic reactions, always seek emergency medical attention.