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If you suffer from allergies, you’re not alone; allergies rank as some of the most common chronic health conditions in the world.

Allergies are triggered when your immune system comes into contact with a harmless substance that it mistakes as an invader, launching a reaction that can result in a wide range of symptoms. While some allergic reactions cause only inconvenience and mild misery, others can trigger life-threatening conditions.

The substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an allergen. Only a physician can help determine the specific allergen responsible for your allergic reaction. However, some of the most common allergens are:

  • Animal dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Food
  • Latex
  • Insect stings
  • Medications

Some of the most common allergic conditions

Allergic rhinitis, which is commonly called hay fever. Hay fever may cause watery, swollen eyes, congestion, an itchy, runny nose and itchy eyes.

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is an allergic skin condition that can cause skin to turn red, itch and even flake or peel.

Many people also have food allergies, which can cause the lips, tongue, face, or throat to swell. An allergic reaction might also involve hives and a tingling mouth. Food allergies can cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.(3)

Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening condition that can occur within minutes after exposure to the allergen. During anaphylaxis, the airways narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Other symptoms may include hives, a weak and rapid pulse, dizziness, fainting or vomiting. Anaphylaxis requires immediate, emergency medical attention. Symptoms may improve after a shot of epinephrine, and sometimes the person having the anaphylaxis reaction will carry an auto injector such as EpiPen. However, even if symptoms improve after administering epinephrine, it is still necessary to visit the emergency department to ensure the symptoms will not return. (4, 5)

Insect stings may also trigger an allergic reaction and may create an edema (large area of swelling) at the sting site. Other symptoms include itching or hives, cough, chest tightness, wheezing, or anaphylaxis.

Drug allergies can cause similar symptoms, including rash, facial swelling, itchy skin, wheezing and anaphylaxis.


Cary Medical Group offers safe, effective treatment for allergies

Because physicians specializing in internal medicine concentrate on how all the body’s systems interact, internists have a unique and valuable perspective on alleviating allergic symptoms.

First, your doctor will help you determine the source of your allergies. This will include asking questions about your symptoms and what seems to make them worse. Your doctor also may order skin or blood testing to get more information to help in your course of treatment.

Once the source of your allergies has been identified, your doctor may suggest prescription or over-the-counter medications, or immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, or “allergy shots,” involves a series of small injections of purified allergen extracts over a period of a few years in an effort to desensitize your immune system to these triggers. Many who participate in immunotherapy have a remission of their allergy symptoms.



Cary Medical Group  |  530 New Waverly Place, Suite 200, Cary, NC 27518  |  office: 919.859.5955  |  fax: 919.859.5659
Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. |  Saturday Sick Clinic (by appointment only): 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at our Raleigh Adult Medicine location. (map)

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