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Texas Allergies: Know the facts

Texas Allergies: Know the facts

If you have allergies, you know the symptoms - watery eyes, scratchy throat and dry cough that would just not go away. But did you know that the common cold is frequently mistaken for allergies? Read below to find out and know your treatment options.

Allergies or the common cold?

Allergies are common. In fact, they are so common that 50 million people in just the US are affected by them! So what are allergies? In simple terms, allergic symptoms are your body's defensive reaction to an irritant entering the system. These reactions can affect the nasal passages, eyes, skin, lungs, or digestive system. Severe allergies can even cause hives, shortness of breath, and swelling of the throat.

Symptoms of allergies common in Texas can include:

As mentioned earlier, allergies are often mistaken for the cold virus since some of the symptoms may be the same. A general rule of thumb to differentiate between the two is the duration. A cold usually lasts around 10 days. If your symptoms exceed this period, you may have allergies. Also, a cold is usually accompanied by fever and headaches, which allergies rarely cause.




Types of Allergies

There are 3 kinds of allergies, depending of the kind of irritant causing the reaction.

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are caused by particles in the air (like dust, pollen, or mold) during seasonal changes. They usually occur around the same time of the year and then stop. Some seasonal irritants are: Pecan trees (in-season between mid-March and June)

Environmental allergies

These are caused by environmental triggers around you and do not follow a specific timeline. Environmental factors like cockroaches or fire ants, mold (a year-round problem that can worsen in damp weather and as temperatures increase in the spring), animal dander and dust mites etc.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are different for intolerance. Adverse reactions like gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, or food poisoning are not necessarily allergies. True food allergies are almost always caused by the following foods:

Treatment Options

Conventional test for allergies includes applying an FDA approved a liquid sample of various allergens to the back of your arm. It could be a scratch or a prick but doesn't draw blood. After 20 mins the site is checked for reactions. Slight allergies create a bit of redness and more severe allergies create a bump that looks like a mosquito bite. Those that cause raised irritation are severe enough that medical treatment may be necessary.

A blood draw is also an option but the scratch test is more reliable and painless.

Treatment options

Needless to say, avoidance is the best course of action but allergens like pollen, dust or dander may not always be easy to ignore.

Over the counter options are almost always the first course of action. But these pills only treat the symptoms and not the source.

Another option is to seek the help of medical professionals and the treatment is usually covered by insurance. You can either opt for sublingual immunotherapy (drops) or allergy shots. The drops are applied under the tongue daily and the shots are administered weekly or biweekly - both by the practitioner. The shots work the same way that allergy drops do—by slowly getting your body used to the allergen. Insurance doesn’t cover immunotherapy, as it hasn’t been approved by the FDA, but it still may be more cost-effective than allergy shots.

How are you dealing with your allergies? Are you going to get tested for allergens? Gives us a call or make an appointment now!




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