At Sugar Land Physicians, our board-certified clinicians have the experience to properly diagnose your condition and prescribe an allergy treatment and management plan that will help you get healthy!
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to certain substances such as pollen or a particular food. The immune system normally protects the body from invading bacteria and viruses that can cause illness. However, the immune system of an allergic person mistakes harmless foreign substances as invading organisms.
A substance that is foreign to the body and causes an allergic reaction is called an allergen. When the immune system overreacts to an allergen, it produces Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. The antibodies travel to cells, which then release histamines and other chemicals, causing the allergic reaction. It is not fully understood why some people develop allergies and others do not.
Allergies Can Be Serious
In sensitive individuals, this exaggerated immune response to foreign substances can cause allergic symptoms in different parts of the body including the eyes, nose, lungs, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma and, in the most serious cases, anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that can impair breathing and send the body into shock.
Hay Fever, the Most Common Allergy
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is the most common allergy. Caused by airborne allergens, it affects the nasal passages. There are two types of hay fever: year-round or perennial — caused by indoor allergens such as dust mites, animal dander and molds — and seasonal allergic rhinitis typically caused by tree, grass or weed pollen. Many allergy sufferers have a combination of both seasonal and perennial allergies.
Symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose; sneezing; itchy nose, eyes, ears and throat; and postnasal drip can be mistaken for a cold or flu, but may well be allergic reactions. At Sugar Land Physicians, we can help determine the cause of your symptoms and prescribe the appropriate treatment(s).
Types of Allergens
There are many different allergens that can cause allergic reactions. The most common include:
- Animal dander
- Dust mites
- Insect stings