What is allergic inflammation?

It's when your body perceives a harmless substance as harmful, triggering the immune system to respond in an exaggerated way. When people have allergic reactions, their immune systems have specific types of T cells that are activated when they come in contact with allergens. These particular T cells produce proteins called cytokines when they are stimulated by allergens.

The cytokines are the first messengers of the immune system, and they activate other cells to attack invaders or allergens. The process of activating these cytokines is how allergic inflammation begins.


allergic inflammation
allergic inflammation


What is an allergen?

Allergens are proteins on specific types of objects that cause your body's immune system to respond as if it's under attack. This triggers the release of cytokines, which produces symptoms like a stuffy nose or watery eyes.

Allergens can be anything from food to pollen. They can even be medications and insect bites! Generally, we're able to manage symptoms by avoiding allergens and knowing our triggers. But sometimes symptoms get worse and we need other forms of relief.

That's where immunotherapy comes in: it aims to reduce symptoms by actually training your immune system not to overreact when faced with allergens again.

The goal is for you to be able to live life without worrying about symptoms or planning your schedule around allergy seasons or avoiding certain places that trigger symptoms.

Immunotherapy has two main goals: to reduce symptoms and to reduce the number of cells that react when faced with allergens.

The most effective form of immunotherapy is allergy shots, which are administered in a doctor's office over time.

For some patients who have severe allergies, an allergist may even recommend immunotherapy through sublingual drops or tablets. These can be taken at home between doctor visits.

But these methods aren't as well studied yet, so there's less evidence surrounding how effective they are compared to allergen injections.


What happens during an allergic reaction?

Allergic inflammation happens when your immune system responds too intensely to allergens in your environment.  This triggers the release of specific cytokines that cause inflammation and lead to common allergy symptoms like a runny nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes, sneezing.

With an allergic reaction, your body doesn't distinguish between harmful and harmless substances.  It's reacting to the presence of allergens by releasing cytokines.  This is what leads to the swelling that causes allergy symptoms.

However, when you have an allergy shot with immunotherapy, your immune system learns not to overreact when faced with allergens again - which helps reduce allergic reactions!


What is "arterial remodeling" in allergies? 

Arterial remodeling is a process by which the arteries become inflamed due to chronic stimuli (in this case: high blood pressure or high cholesterol.  Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to other parts of the body.  So when they become inflamed, it limits their ability to do that job and reduces blood flow throughout the body.

The result is a resistance to insulin creating high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or atherosclerosis (when arterial plaque builds up).

Allergies are an inflammatory state so your risk for developing diseases like type 2 diabetes also increases with chronic inflammation! It's important to go get tested regularly and work on managing allergies so you can take care of yourself!  


What does "collaborative care" mean?  How does it affect allergies? 

Collaborative care means that both medical doctors and specialists work together to provide comprehensive care for patients with chronic illnesses.  This means that both your medical doctor and allergist are working together to provide the best care for you!

Having both parties involved ensures that your allergies are under control (by getting tested regularly!) and it also makes sure you don't have other complications like diabetes or vascular disease because your doctors are working together to make sure they're under control too.

Collaborative care can help keep allergy patients healthier for longer, prevent other medical issues from arising, and ensure that the correct treatments are being used to manage symptoms.

Allergies can be hard to diagnose - especially if there's no seasonal pattern. Immunotherapy injections work very differently than other medications so it's important to know exactly what kind of treatment will help you manage your allergies.  Working together with both your allergist and the medical doctor ensures that you're receiving the best care possible!


What are the five common signs of an allergic reaction?

Swelling, itchiness, hives (red bumps), broken blood vessels (under the surface of the skin), and nasal congestion (runny nose) can all signal an allergic reaction.  

While some reactions are more extreme than others, if any one of these symptoms is present it's always good to have them checked by a doctor - especially if they don't go away or get worse!  It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to severe reactions!

If you have pain in addition to any of these symptoms, it could mean something more serious like anaphylaxis.  This is a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention to prevent further complications!


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How do you treat seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies are often treated with over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants which help people get through their outdoor seasons without too much pain or discomfort.  For some patients, immunotherapy injections can help reduce reactions even further so they don't have to rely on medications that may cause drowsiness or other side effects.

Immunotherapy injections work by introducing small amounts of the allergy-causing allergen to your body so it can learn not to overreact when faced with them again!  This has been shown to reduce symptoms from reactions and help keep people healthier during their outdoor seasons.  


How does immunotherapy affect children?

Allergies, especially allergies that begin in childhood, tend to last a lifetime - but they don't have to!  By working together with both pediatricians and allergists we're able to provide comprehensive care for families and help our youngest patients grow up healthy and strong!  There are also some studies that show children who receive regular allergy shots may be less likely than non-allergy patients to have other chronic illnesses as they get older!  This can help children and adults alike live healthier lives by preventing the onset of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.


What is the difference between food allergies and intolerances?

Food allergies and intolerances are two very different things!  A food allergy means that your immune system overreacts to a certain kind of protein - this can make you feel itchy, have trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, runny nose, or other symptoms.

Food intolerance doesn't affect the immune system - instead, it could cause gas, bloating, or digestive upset.  They're triggered by a physical or enzyme issue with the patient rather than an immune response.

The best way to manage either of these conditions is prevention - so if you have a problem with any foods avoid them!  If you do accidentally ingest something you're sensitive to, it's always a good idea to have that checked out by a doctor.  Immunotherapy injections can help reduce reactions and make treating food allergies and intolerances much easier for those who need it!


What is the difference between asthma and hay fever? 

Both of these conditions are allergic in nature, but they affect different parts of the body! Asthma occurs when your airways (the tubes that bring oxygen into your lungs) become inflamed resulting in breathing difficulties. Hay fever (or seasonal allergies as we often know them) occurs when pollen or other particles enter your body through your mucus membrane - this triggers inflammation which leads to allergy symptoms like watery eyes, sneezing, and congestion. 

It's important to note that both of these conditions can lead to other health problems if left untreated - asthma can be life-threatening while hay fever frequently leads to several more serious chronic illnesses later in life!

The information provided is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your doctor before attempting any treatment.