Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to otherwise harmless elements of our everyday environment, like dust mites, mold, animal dander, grass, pollens, airborne chemicals and even certain types of food. This reaction from your immune system causes an over-production of antibodies, and your cells then release histamine, causing symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, wheezing, skin rash, nasal congestion, headaches, asthma, fatigue, and joint pain.
When it comes to understanding how allergies work, consider the “Rain Barrel theory.” A rain barrel can hold a certain amount of water before it fills up and the water begins to spill over the top. The body’s relationship to allergens and other environmental stressors works the same way. Each individual has the capacity to handle only so many allergens before the rain barrel fills up and symptoms “spill over.”
Allergy treatment aims to reduce or eliminate some of the stressors that are overwhelming your immune system with the goal of decreasing or eliminating symptoms and decreasing reliance on prescription medications.
A More Effective Approach to Allergy Testing
At Visions HealthCare, our practitioners use intra-dermal and skin-prick testing to evaluate your antibody responses. During an intra-dermal test, a small amount of each suspected allergen is injected into the skin in order to measure your immune response. Your reactions to these individual allergens provides your “allergy profile,” which becomes the baseline for your recommended course of treatment. In order to determine your body’s natural allergy response, we ask that you avoid certain medications just prior to your scheduled allergy test. Refer to this document for more information about preparations to allergy testing.
Visions HealthCare Allergy Treatment
The goal of allergy treatment is to reduce or eliminate your symptoms by decreasing the stress that allergens place on your immune system. Your treatment plan is individualized based on your test results. This plan often involves a multi-faceted approach which may include avoidance of suspected allergens, environmental and lifestyle modifications, nutritional supplementation, and immunotherapy. Conventional interventions like antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays/inhalers are often recommended at the start of your treatment course, with the long-range goal of lessening or eliminating your reliance on these measures.
You don’t have to live with allergies when there is help to control them. Call Visions HealthCare at 781-232-5444 to schedule a consultation or to set up an appointment.