If you’re struggling with allergies and you’re tired of managing them with ineffective over-the-counter treatments, the specialists at Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy in Princeton, NJ, can help.
Here at Becker ENT & Allergy, we have a team of board-certified allergists who will ask you questions about your medical history, diagnose your possible allergies, and create a customized treatment plan that will make you feel better in no time.
Allergies are irritating, distracting, and in serious cases, life-threatening. If you have allergies, you don’t have to live with the discomfort anymore. Although treatments may not fully cure your allergies, the immunologists and allergists at Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy in Princeton, NJ can help you find significant relief.
Allergy treatments can help reduce the frequency and severity of your reactions and improve any uncomfortable symptoms that your allergies may cause you.
If you suspect that you may have an allergy, but you’re not sure, our doctors can provide you with the answers you seek at our office in Princeton, NJ.
What are Allergies?
People who have allergies experience a physical reaction when they come into contact with a food or substance that they are sensitive to. Allergic reactions occur because your immune system senses the allergen and interprets it as a threat, thereby causing the immune system to react and cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- Watering eyes
- Running nose
- Rashes on the skin
- Lung issues
The most common allergens include pet hair, certain foods (milk, shellfish, tree nuts, and peanuts), molds, medicines, dust mites, and pollen.
By visiting an allergy doctor, you can determine whether your allergies are non-seasonal or seasonal. 80% of people who have seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever) start developing symptoms before they are 20 years old. Although most food allergies are developed during childhood, about 15% of these allergies are diagnosed in adulthood.
What is an Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reaction describes a chain of events that is triggered by an allergen. When you are exposed to a certain allergen, such as pet dander, your body reacts by producing antibodies. These antibodies locate the allergens in your system and help to remove them. This causes a chemical known as histamine to be produced in the body, causing allergy symptoms.
To most people, these substances are harmless. But for someone with an allergy, they can produce uncomfortable or even dangerous symptoms.
When Should You See an Immunologist?
The best time to visit an immunologist is immediately, if you develop any allergy or asthma symptoms that compromise your health. If you have a child who is displaying allergy symptoms, we recommend that you take them to a pediatric immunologist or allergy doctor right away.
Early diagnosis of an allergy can help to minimize the symptoms from worsening, prevent life-threatening reactions, and improve your ability to manage your symptoms over time.
When Should You See an Allergy Doctor?
An allergy doctor is similar to an immunologist, as they specialize in asthma, PIDD (Primary immune deficiency disease), and all sorts of allergies.
We highly recommend that you visit an allergy doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:
- Asthma attacks
- Hay fever
- Difficulty breathing
- Sinus infections (chronic)
- Drowsiness from medications
- Lack of relief from medications
Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)
Two of the most common allergies have one fortunate thing in common: They can be treated with immunotherapy, also called allergy shots. These specially prescribed injections will help you stay comfortable whenever the symptoms appear.
Seasonal allergies appear in the spring, summer, and autumn when plants are going through their life cycles. Pollen and other plant substances are blowing everywhere, creating the familiar symptoms of pollen allergy: reddened, itchy, painful eyes; constantly runny nose; and frequent sneezing and coughing.
Dog, cat, and other animal allergies create similar symptoms of itchy, reddened eyes and nose, along with sneezing and coughing.
Allergy shots have proven to be very effective for both seasonal and pet dander allergies. The shots can be combined with appropriate medications for maximum relief.
Allergy Types and Their Treatments
Hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. The pollen allergen causes the conjunctiva and the protective lining of the nose to inflame and swell. The symptoms of a pollen allergy can include watering of the mouth, eyes, and nose, sneezing, itchiness, and congestion.
An immunology doctor will most likely prescribe nasal steroids, oral antihistamines, nasal cromolyn, and anti-leukotrienes. Your allergy doctor will also advise you to stay aware of pollen-producing plants.
During seasons when pollen counts are high in the atmosphere, your immunology specialist will most likely recommend that you stay indoors as much as possible, turn on the air conditioner, and close the windows. If you suffer from pollen allergy, ask your allergy doctor about allergy shots to help you manage your symptoms.
Dust mites are minute organisms that live in fibers of carpets, mattresses, upholstery, and pillows, especially in humid warm areas. The symptoms of a dust mite allergy are similar to pollen allergy symptoms, which include swelling and inflammation of the nose lining and the conjunctiva, watery eyes, and congestion.
An immunology specialist will likely advise you that the best way to manage the allergy is by using airtight cases over box springs, mattresses, and pillows. If you suffer from this allergy, we recommend that you vacuum frequently using a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency filter.
An allergy doctor will prescribe medication that will help to control the chest, nasal, and eye problems. If the medication is not very effective, the immunologist may use immunotherapy to treat the allergy.
Molds are among the most common allergy triggers, alongside pollen and peanuts. The tiny fungi can be found in damp areas indoors such as the bathroom, kitchen, or basement. Molds can also be found in damp outdoor areas such as grass, mulch, or leaf piles. During humid hot weather, the mold spores multiply rapidly.
Just like other forms of allergies, an allergy doctor will probably recommend medications to control eye, chest, and nasal symptoms. If the medication fails to control the symptoms adequately, the immunology expert may recommend immunotherapy.
Proteins in the saliva, as well as those secreted by sweat glands, are what make pet dander such common allergens. If you are allergic to pet dander, the best solution is to avoid keeping pets.
What happens if your partner or children want to keep a pet? In that case, your best option would be to keep the pet away from the bedroom, ensure that the pet is washed frequently, and use air purifiers that have HEPA filtration.
The best course of treatment for pet dander allergy is prescribed medication from an immunology expert. Allergy shots may also help.
Frequently asked questions
At Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy in Princeton, NJ, an immunologist will administer one or more of the tests below depending on your type of allergy and medical history:
• Prick testing – used to identify seasonal, food, pollen, dander, and dust mite allergies.
• Blood testing – used in patients with a long history of food allergies.
• Patch testing – used to determine if recurrent rashes are a symptom of an allergy.
• Pulmonary function testing – used to carry out tests in the lungs.
Allergy testing administered by an immunologist is typically not painful but may be slightly uncomfortable. Although some itching may occur, it is short-lived and will disappear almost as fast as it comes.
There are people who have been able to outgrow their allergies as they grow older. In fact, 90% of children outgrow eggs and milk allergies. However, other types of food allergies, such as reactions to tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish tend to last longer and may be permanent.
Our office is located at 256 Bunn Dr Unit A, Princeton, NJ 08540.
- Take the Airpark Road to US-206 S then turn right onto US-206 S.
- Turn left onto Herrontown Road.
- Turn right onto Mt. Lucas Road.
- Turn left onto Poor Farm Road.
- Proceed to turn right onto Bunn Drive.
- Take a right into the parking lot.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Are you ready to get your allergies under control? Visit Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy in Princeton today and let our board-certified allergy doctors take good care of you. Call us today at (609) 354-5445 to book a consultation.