Common Questions About Allergy & Asthma

Over the years, we’ve answered a lot of questions about Allergy and Asthma. The following are answers to questions we’re most frequently asked.

Question: What is allergy?

Answer: An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to specific substances. It is this reaction that causes symptoms. Anyone can develop an allergy; reactions to such things as dust, pollen, animals and mold are present in about 20% of the population. The tendency to develop allergies is hereditary.

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Question: What is the relationship between allergies and asthma?

Answer: Asthma may be triggered by many different causes. For many people with asthma, allergic reactions are important triggers. Respiratory tract infections are also an important trigger. Treating allergies can result in less susceptibility to infection.

Question: Why don’t you do blood tests to detect allergies? Why do you mainly perform skin tests?

Answer: Skin testing is much more sensitive than blood testing. A significant allergy could be missed if we relied only on blood testing.

Question: Do allergy injections work?

Answer: There is an abundance of proof that allergy injections are effective for many inhalant allergies – especially pollens, molds, dust and dust mites. In children, allergy injections can reverse the “allergic march” from eczema to nasal allergy to asthma so that the asthma does not occur or, if present, it can be improved.

Question: Can I keep my pet?

Answer: This can be a most difficult problem. There is no single answer.

Question: Can I get shots for cat and dog allergies?

Answer: Yes, but the effectiveness is less predictable. This approach should be discussed with your allergy specialist.

Question: Can I get shots for food allergies?

Answer: No. Food allergies or intolerance must be treated by avoidance.

Question: Should I continue to treat my asthma if I’m pregnant?

Answer: Yes. The early treatment of an episode of asthma is best for you and your baby. Early treatment also minimizes the amount of medication you may need. Consult your physician if you know or suspect you are pregnant.

Question: Can adults develop allergies later in life?

Answer: Allergies can develop at any age. Many adults experience their first allergy symptoms in mid-life.

Question: Is my general health important in treating my allergies?

Answer: Yes. Good nutrition, exercise and good health help your body to resist allergies. Smoking is harmful and should be avoided.