In springtime, when trees burst into leaf and flowers open, are you distracted by sneezing, sniffling, and itchy eyes? In summer, do you shut out the breeze and hide indoors? Year-round, do you wage a constant battle with dust mites or pet dander? If so, you are all too familiar with the symptoms of an allergy attack. But whether you’re afflicted with seasonal allergies or endure symptoms all year, you are not alone. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) estimates that more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies.
Allergy misery has a high sticker price. As the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States, allergies account for annual health care costs of more than $18 billion. Hidden costs include lost work days, missed school time, and curtailed leisure activities. And the situation is getting worse; in Western industrialized countries, cases of allergic reaction — the body’s overly sensitive immune response to a harmless substance — are on the rise.
Allergies can range from irritating inconveniences to chronic debilitating conditions. They can even be life-threatening, as in the case of allergic shock, or anaphylaxis. Because of their potential severity and increasing prevalence, allergic reactions have been the focus of rigorous research. This work has resulted in a greater understanding of the complex nature of allergic reactions, which in turn has led to more effective treatment options. While allergies still can’t be cured, doctors are learning more about how to prevent them and how to manage the symptoms more successfully. This means that you’ll not only feel better but also be less likely to suffer the permanent tissue damage that can result from long-term allergies.
This report will explain how and why an allergic reaction happens, discuss the advantages of newer treatments, and shed light on some controversial topics such as peanut allergies, alternative diagnostic approaches, and toxic house syndrome. When it comes to managing allergies, the watchword is “avoidance,” particularly of those triggers that fire the starter’s gun on a full-blown allergic attack. Finally, this report will take a look ahead to what may be coming soon to an allergy clinic near you.