Fredericksburg Parent

May 2015

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20 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • May 2015 Ask the Expert Q: What is an allergist? An allergist is a physician with specialized training to diagnose, treat and manage individuals with environmental allergies, food allergies, stinging insect allergy, asthma, chronic or recurrent sinus problems and eczema. Many allergists also take care of patients with primary immunodeficiency which is a category of genetic conditions that puts patients at increased risk for recurrent infection. Allergists are trained to provide specialized care for both pediatric and adult patients. Q: What causes us to react to allergens? Allergies occur when our immune system makes an abnormal response to an otherwise harmless substance in the environment. The normal function of our immune system is to determine whether or not a substance poses a danger to the individual. Specifically, allergies develop when the immune systems generates an antibody called IgE directed against that substance. Although environmental and food allergies disproportionately affect children and young adults, an individual can develop an allergy at any age. It is not uncommon for a person to have been exposed to a medication or food their entire life without problems and then spontaneously develop an abnormal allergic response. Q: How early can children show symptoms of environmental allergies? This is a more complicated question than it seems. Many conditions have been linked to environmental allergies such as atopic dermatitis (i.e. allergic eczema), nasal and ocular allergies, and asthma. Infants can begin to suffer from eczema within the first few months of life; if there is an allergic trigger, it is most likely a food, though not all eczema is allergy related. At this young age, environmental allergies can trigger eczema but most of the time this will be due to an indoor allergen such as dust mites or animal dander from the family pet. In infants and toddlers, recurrent wheezing is also a problem and this too can be triggered by indoor allergens, though most of the time it is triggered by viruses. As a child gets above the age of 2, we start to see more seasonal allergy symptoms as they have now experienced at least two pollen seasons. a sk t h e e x p e rt S pring is here and with it comes… allergies. It would be a shame to spend these warmer, sunny days with a runny nose and sneezing. Allergy Partners is here to help! Did you know that Allergy Partners is the nation's largest single- specialty practice in allergy, asthma and immunology? Here are a few ques- tions Allergy Partners answered for us about those pesky seasonal allergies. Allergy Partners physicians are trained in the diagnosis, treat- ment, and manage- ment of asthma and allergic diseas- es, and will create a treatment plan specifically for you to help manage your symptoms. INTERVIEWED by bRENDA SAPANGHIlA of Fredericksburg ALLERGY PARTNERS

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