Allergy is a condition when your immune system reacts to a specific substance in you, while it is harmless to other people. When you are having an allergic reaction, it is your immune system that is producing chemicals that lead to the reaction. Therefore, allergy is not a deficiency or weakness in the immune system.
It commonly affects the eyes and nose leading to hay fever; however it can affect any organ including the mouth, lungs and skin. It can present with mild bothersome symptoms such as itching. However it can also be severe and life threatening where one has difficulty breathing. On the other hand, immune deficiency refers to a weakened immune state where one gets frequent infections.
The infections can involve the skin, ears, sinuses, lungs and any organ in the body.
There are conditions that have been recently recognized as possibly allergic and immune conditions such as Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). EoE leads to inflammation or swelling of the esophagus (the tube that sends food from the mouth to the stomach). Symptoms generally include vague abdominal pain, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. In severe cases, it can cause life threatening when food gets impacted in the esophagus. Allergists and gastroenterologists collaborate in the management and treatment of this condition.
Allergists and Immunologists are experts that receive special training and experience with the immune system. We can tell you whether your symptom is an allergy or not. Generally, we are able to pinpoint the culprit and confirm it with tests that can determine what to avoid.
In addition to avoidance and relieving symptomatic treatment, some allergic conditions can be cured through specific allergen subcutaneous immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. This treatment is highly effective in modulating the immune system to develop tolerance to what is normally an offending agent in an allergic individual.
If you have questions or concerns, please call us at (305) 270-1073.