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With more than 50 million affected Americans, allergies are one of the top 10 causes of chronic illness in the United States. If you suffer from seasonal or food allergies, turn to the caring team at one of the offices of Nneka Edokpayi, MD, of Rapha Health and Wellness in Houston or Sugar Land, Texas. You can book online, call to make an appointment, or request a home visit.

Allergies Q & A

What are allergies?

An allergy is your immune system’s unhealthy reaction to a substance that may not cause problems for other people. The substance that triggers the reaction is called an allergen. Your body perceives it as an invader and mounts a defense against it, setting off a cascade of mild to severe symptoms, including:

  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Respiratory symptoms

In severe cases, some men, women, and children have a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

What are some common allergens?

Some of the most common allergens that trigger your allergic reaction are:

  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Latex
  • Dust

A variety of foods causes allergic reactions. Some of the most well-known are peanuts, soy, dairy, tree nuts, and shellfish

What is immunotherapy?

Dr. Edokpayi of Rapha Health and Wellness uses immunotherapy to fortify your immune system and help you better tolerate allergens. Through allergy vaccinations or liquid drops, you’re slowly exposed to your trigger until your body builds up resistance and tolerance.

What is the treatment for allergies?

Dr. Edokpayi evaluates your symptoms, asks a series of questions, performs a physical exam, and conducts skin and blood testing to get to the bottom of what’s causing your allergies. Once she detects your key allergens, she writes a treatment plan that may include:

  • Decongestants
  • Nasal sprays
  • Food avoidance
  • Dietician support
  • Antihistamines
  • Immunotherapy
  • Mast cell stabilizers
  • Steroids

Anaphylaxis is often treated with epinephrine. Many people with severe allergies carry an epinephrine-filled auto-injector called an EpiPen® to use in the event of an emergency. 

What happens if I don’t treat my allergies?

If your allergies are left untreated, they may worsen over time and cause other complications, including:

  • Sinus infection
  • Severe earache
  • Asthma attack
  • Rash
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Shock
  • Trouble breathing
  • Distraction
  • Lethargy
  • Skin infection
  • Lung disease
  • Anaphylaxis

If avoiding food and environmental triggers isn’t helping your allergies or lessening their severity, come to one of Dr. Edokpayi’s Rapha Health and Wellness clinics in Houston or Sugar Land, Texas, for a thorough evaluation. You can request a personal home visit, schedule an appointment online, or call for an appointment at your convenience.