What to Do If You Suspect You Have an Allergy

Many people suffer from at least one type of allergy. When these allergies are mild, they're nothing to be concerned about. However, moderate to severe allergies can degrade your quality of life and can even be life-threatening in some cases. Here are three steps you should take if you believe you have developed an allergy:

1. Determine the cause of your allergy.

In some cases, the cause of your allergic reactions will be obvious. If you develop hives after eating certain foods or playing with your neighbor's dog, that's a good indicator of the source of your discomfort. In other cases, the cause may be less apparent. If you're suffering from itchy eyes, congestion, and hives without a known source, you may need to visit a medical center like Dino Peds for allergy testing.

The most common form of allergy testing is a skin test. Your doctor will draw a grid on your body, then introduce a small number of various allergens into your system by pricking your skin. A small amount of time is allowed to pass, in order for reactions to become apparent, and then your doctor reads the results. This is a great way to determine mystery allergies or to narrow down allergies in people with multiple triggers.

2. Avoid possible triggers.

Prevention is the best way to manage your allergies. Once you know what you're allergic to, avoid those things if at all possible. If you're allergic to dust and mold, make an effort to clean your house more frequently so these substances can't accumulate. Installing an air purifier in your home can cut down on seasonal allergy symptoms. If you're allergic to your pets, you may have to give them up to resolve your allergic reactions.

Never eat foods that give you allergy symptoms. Allergies tend to worsen over time. Even if your allergic reactions up until now have been mild, at some point you may go into anaphylactic shock. Always err on the side of caution.

3. Seek the help of an allergist.

In some cases, your allergies may be too severe to treat yourself. If nonprescription antihistamines don't provide your relief, you may need to visit your allergist. Allergy shots are one possible option for people with severe allergies. Allergy shots will be administered in your allergist's office on a weekly or monthly schedule.

According to Mayo Clinic, allergy shots work by introducing a small amount of allergen into your system, in order to help your body build up an immunity. This can help people with pets who desire relief from their allergy symptoms but don't want to give up their beloved animal companions.