What is an Allergist?
An allergist is a physician specially trained to diagnose, treat and manage various hypersensitivity conditions such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, sinusitis, food allergies, eczema, hives, and bee stings as well as rarer immunologic disorders including primary immunodeficiency disorders.
What is Allergic Disease?
Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from allergic diseases. Allergic disease can develop at any age, and can be due in part to heredity. For an allergy to develop, a person first becomes sensitized after months to years of regular exposure to an allergen (examples: pollens, animal dander, drug or food).
Sensitization leads to production of allergic antibody, IgE that is made specifically for each allergen. Allergic reactions occur after airborne allergens are inhaled into the nose or lungs and then bind to IgE causing release of histamine and cell products that are responsible for common allergic respiratory symptoms.
In the nose, allergic symptoms include runny nose, nasal swelling, sneezing and itching of the eyes, ears and throat. This condition is referred to as "Allergic Rhinitis". Blockage of the sinuses can result in headaches and bacterial sinus infections. Allergic reactions occurring in the bronchials of the lung cause Asthma symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
Common Allergic Diseases include:
Allergic rhinitis, "Hay Fever", or Nasal Allergy Seasonal allergic rhinitis is a condition of inflammation of the nose and eyes triggered by airborne exposure to ragweed, grass, and tree pollens. Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis occurs during spring when trees pollinate, during grass pollen season in May and June, or during ragweed pollen season from mid-August to early October.
Patients suffering with year round nasal allergy symptoms have Perennial Allergic Rhinitis that is often caused by house dust mites, mold spores or proteins from the skin dander of household pets. Up to 1/3 of allergic rhinitis patients also have asthma.