The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 50 million people in America suffer from some form of allergies each year. For many people, their body can develop an allergic reaction to something later in life — even though they have never had allergies before. If you’re suffering from allergies now and you’re not sure why, here are some of the most common questions that patients ask their NYC allergist.
Are Allergies Curable?
You can usually work to minimize allergy symptoms, but you cannot cure an allergy. Your NYC allergist will work with you to figure out what triggers your allergies; then you have to try to minimize your contact with the allergen, if possible. Allergy medications can reduce the severity of your symptoms, but you will still likely have a reaction when you come in contact with one or more of your allergy triggers.
Is This an Allergy or a Common Cold?
The symptoms for an allergy versus a cold are almost identical. There are a few differences, however. The sneezing, congestion, runny nose and water eyes will show up at the same time when you have an allergic reaction. With a cold, symptoms come on one-at-a-time and build up gradually. Cold symptoms go away in a week to ten days, while allergies will continue as long as you are exposed to the allergen. Cold mucus is yellowish in color, while allergy mucus is clear and watery.
Will I Still Have Allergies if I Move?
Yes, you probably will. You can’t really get away from plant pollen, which is the most common source of allergies, no matter where you live.
What Are Hypoallergenic Products?
A hypoallergenic product is one that’s advertised as being less likely to cause an allergic reaction. You’ve probably seen ads for everything from laundry detergents, soaps and deodorants to pillows and mattresses that are “hypoallergenic.” These products are usually created without chemicals or other items that are known allergens. However, you should know that these products are not regulated, and the makers do not have to prove that they are actually hypoallergenic. Test new products carefully when you buy them to make sure they won’t just trigger a contact allergy. Your NYC allergist can teach you how to test products like this yourself, without triggering a full-blown allergic reaction by accident.
Can Stress Make My Allergies Worse?
Stress won’t cause you to have allergies, but it can exacerbate the symptoms. Stress can weaken the immune system, so that you are more likely to have an allergic reaction — or to have a reaction that is worse than normal. Stress can also cause your body to release more histamine in your bloodstream, which is the substance that leads to allergy symptoms.
If you think you have allergies, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with an NYC allergist to be tested. You can enjoy a better quality of life when you get your allergy symptoms under control.