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Are Allergies Genetic?

Women blowing nose into tissue

Every time you have an allergy attack, do you have your ancestors to thank? Seasonal allergies can be due to a genetic disposition you’ve inherited.

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are your body’s immune system response to things it thinks are foreign attackers. Allergy triggers, like pollen, dust, mold, or animal dander are a few examples of what can bring about an abnormal response from your immune system.

Seasonal allergies, skin rashes, and asthma are typical reactions of people who are sensitive to these triggers. All of these allergic reactions can be from a genetic predisposition to have an abnormal and hyper-reactive immune system response to common allergy triggers.

People who don’t have allergies can be around allergy triggers and their bodies don’t treat them as invaders. Therefore, when your body does hyper-react to a trigger, it’s considered an abnormal response that creates uncomfortable symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Allergies?

Symptoms will vary from person to person because of different factors, such as the type of allergy and how severe the allergy is. If medication has been taken in anticipation of an allergy attack or exposure to irritants, the symptoms can be reduced.

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Hay fever symptoms can feel like the common cold. Allergy symptoms can include:

  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Swollen and/or itchy eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Coughing

You can try using over-the-counter medicines to minimize symptoms, but visit your doctor if OTC medications don’t help your symptoms.

Severe Allergy Symptoms

There is a rare but dangerous condition called anaphylaxis that’s associated with severe allergies. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening emergency that’s characterized by:

  • Breathing difficulties (airway swelling)
  • Dizziness
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

If you have any of these symptoms after coming in contact with anything that’s a possible allergen, seek emergency medical help immediately.

Who Is at Risk of Developing Allergies?

If someone in your family has allergies, you may develop them too. That’s because allergies are often hereditary.

Exposure to allergy triggers may occur when you have weakened body defenses due to pregnancy or after an illness.

Your workplace conditions may also cause allergies if you’re working around irritating allergens, such as cleaning products or chemical fumes.

How Are Allergies Diagnosed?

A good first step in getting your allergies diagnosed is to visit an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor. Your doctor will perform an evaluation and conduct tests to zero in on what allergens are triggering your immune system. Skin tests and blood tests are two of the most common forms of allergy testing. Working with your ENT specialist can help reduce symptoms and complications and improve your quality of life.

How Are Allergies Treated?

Most allergies can be managed with medication, allergy shots, or other methods. The most common treatment methods include:

  • Prescription medication
  • Corticosteroids
  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy)
  • Nasal sprays
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants

Your ENT doctor will work with you to find which treatments help you the most while eliminating or reducing any possible side effects.

If you are bothered by an allergy, a consultation with an ear, nose and throat specialist at New York ENT can help. Our physicians are experienced with diagnosing and treating allergies. We offer many different types of allergy testing options to help identify the triggers causing your allergic reactions and prescribe effective allergy treatment.

The first step to feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with us. Our board certified physicians with New York ENT are ready to assist you. Allergy treatment in New York is only a phone call away. Call our office at (212) 873-6168, or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment today.

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