Asthma, Allergy, & Immunology Center
Allergy and Immunology located throughout Michigan
Environmental allergies are triggered by many substances you encounter at work, home, and outdoors. When you experience sneezing, itchy eyes, and congestion, the team of physicians at Asthma, Allergy & Immunology Center offers treatments that ease your symptoms and help you return to an active life free from allergy worries. To schedule an appointment, call one of the Michigan offices, or use the online booking feature today.
Environmental Allergies Q & A
What are environmental allergies?
Environmental allergies develop when your immune system reacts to substances in your surroundings. This broad category includes allergies to:
- Grass, weed, and tree pollen
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Stinging insects (bees, wasps, and stinging ants)
- Poison ivy, oak, and sumac
- Tobacco smoke
- Chemical fumes
These allergens belong to two general groups: airborne and contact allergens. Airborne allergens are also commonly known as seasonal allergies (hay fever or allergic rhinitis). Seasonal allergies occur at certain times of year when trees, grasses, and weeds release a lot of pollen.
What symptoms develop due to environmental allergies?
Airborne allergens primarily affect your nose and eyes, while contact allergens cause skin reactions. As a group, they cause symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Congested nose
- Red, watery eyes
- Itchy nose, eyes, and mouth
- Skin rashes
- Skin swelling and redness
Some allergies, especially allergies to insect stings and latex, cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This life-threatening reaction occurs rapidly and requires immediate emergency care.
Anaphylaxis causes symptoms such as swelling in your tongue and throat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.
What are hives and angioedema?
Hives, also called urticaria, consist of red, raised patches that appear on your skin. They often disappear within hours but new hives keep appearing, causing hives that can last for days or weeks.
Angioedema occurs when fluids build up in the tissues underneath hives. Angioedema causes swelling, redness, and pain.
Hives and angioedema develop in response to environmental allergies as well as many other conditions, including food allergies, viral infections, chronic stress, changes in temperature, and rubbing or scratching your skin.
How are seasonal allergies treated?
After reviewing your symptoms, your provider may recommend in-office allergy testing to identify your specific allergen. Your treatment may include:
Over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines and decongestants often provide the symptom relief you need. Contact allergens and skin symptoms like hives need topical medications to ease the itching and pain. You may also need anti-inflammatory drugs like steroids to treat hives.
Plan to avoid allergens
As much as possible, avoid your allergens. Your provider offers tips to help limit your exposure.
Immunotherapy (allergy shots)
Allergy shots regularly expose your immune system to small doses of your allergen. Over time, your immune system gets used to the substance, becomes desensitized, and reduces or stops your allergic reactions.
If you need experienced care for environmental allergens, call Asthma, Allergy, & Immunology Center or book an appointment online today.