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Allergic Reaction Specialist

Suburban Allergy Consultants

Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Specialists located in Narberth, Havertown, West Chester, West Grove, & Coatesville, PA

An allergic reaction can be frightening, and it’s probably an experience that you don’t want to go through again. If you experience allergic reactions, schedule a visit with the team of allergy, asthma, and immunology specialists at Suburban Allergy Consultants. Corinna Bowser MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, Andrew Murphy MD, FAAAAI, and their team can help you identify the source of your allergic reaction at their five practice locations in Narberth, Havertown, West Chester, West Grove, and Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Call the office nearest you or request your appointment using the convenient online booking tool.

Allergic Reaction Q & A

What is an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction happens when your immune system defends your body against a substance that may not be threatening to your health. Your immune system is normally responsible for defending your body against harmful bacteria and viruses, but for some people, it can react to foreign bodies that should not be dangerous, like:

  • Pollen
  • Certain medications, like aspirin or penicillin
  • Pet dander
  • Bee stings or insect bites
  • Certain plants
  • Certain foods, like nuts, shellfish, milk, soy, and wheat

It’s unclear exactly why some people experience allergic reactions, and others don’t. They do run in families, however, and can be inherited.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, nearly 50 million people in the United States have some form of allergic disease.

What symptoms does an allergic reaction cause?

Some of the common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Irritated throat
  • Rash
  • Nasal congestion
  • Bodily itching
  • Hives

Allergic reactions to food can sometimes trigger reflux, as is the case with those who have celiac disease (an immune disease in which people are allergic to gluten) and eosinophilic esophagitis. 

In more severe cases, an allergic reaction might cause:

  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Facial swelling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Unconsciousness

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can develop within seconds after exposure to an allergen. In some cases, a severe allergic reaction can cause anaphylaxis, which can trigger shock symptoms in your body and require immediate, emergency attention.

How do you diagnose specific allergies?

The team of professionals at Suburban Allergy Consultants can frequently identify allergies through a careful analysis of your medical history and confirm right in the office with allergy testing. Some of the tests that the team might perform include:

Skin test

A skin test involves exposing your body to a small amount of the suspected allergen, either through a small patch your provider tapes to your skin, a small prick to your skin, or an injection just beneath your skin. Skin tests typically diagnose allergies to:

  • Venom
  • Penicillin
  • Animal dander, mold, and pollen
  • Certain food, like shellfish or peanuts

Challenge test

Challenge tests are typically for food allergies. They involve ingesting a suspected allergen under the supervision of your doctor and observing the reaction.

Blood test

With a blood test, your doctor checks your blood for particular allergen antibodies. Blood tests are typically only performed when skin testing isn’t a possibility.

The team at Suburban Allergy Consultants are experts in allergic reactions. They can typically have an answer to your allergy questions on the same day as your test. Schedule your visit by phone or request one online to get started with your allergy testing today.