Every year in the United States, more than 50 million women, men, and children suffer from some type of allergy. Seasonal allergies from pollen and ragweed are most common, but you can be allergic to almost anything, including your own pets and the foods you eat.
If you have allergies, you may not even be sure what triggers an attack or how to deal with allergy symptoms once they occur. But you don’t have to be at the mercy of your allergies. Between lifestyle changes and medical assistance, you can beat them and live your life symptom-free.
Catherine Fuller, MD, is an allergy, asthma, and immunology specialist who can help you conquer allergies and their troublesome symptoms. She and the team at our Brentwood office in West Los Angeles, California, offer both allergy testing and treatment.
Are you struggling with your allergies? Here are some tips on how to beat allergy attacks, once and for all.
1. Find out what’s troubling you
The first tip for beating allergy attacks is to identify the allergens in your life. Some of these may be seasonal, such as high counts of pollen in the spring, summer, and fall. Others may be chronic triggers, such as allergies to substances you encounter in your daily life, including:
- Certain types of metals
- Pet dander
- Insect stings
- Foods such as dairy, wheat, and peanuts
You can whittle down your potential triggers by keeping an allergy diary. Note your symptoms, the time of day, and what you were exposed to most recently. Seasonal allergies may be easy to identify. Food allergies may be more difficult to identify, especially if you also have food sensitivities.
Allergy testing evaluates dozens of triggers at once. We administer allergy tests in the comfort of our office, and Dr. Fuller can tell within minutes exactly what substances trigger your symptoms. She tests both for seasonal allergies and food allergies.
2. Control your environment
The more control you have over your environment, the better you can control your allergies and beat allergy attacks. If you’re allergic to pollen, keep your windows closed all season, run your air conditioner 24/7, and change the filters regularly.
If you’re allergic to your pets, you may need to bathe them more frequently. Other steps to help control allergies indoors include:
- Washing sheets regularly in hot water
- Vacuuming at least twice a week
- Using air purifiers and changing their filters regularly
Wear a mask when you’re vacuuming or brushing pet fur.
3. Modify your behavior
Take your shoes off and leave them outside or at the door to avoid tracking allergens into the house. Wearing a hat and a light jacket or overshirt when outdoors means you can remove them (and the pollen that falls on them) when you come indoors. Wear a mask outdoors when the pollen count is high.
Take a shower and wash your hair every night. Wash your clothes frequently, too. If you’ve identified food sensitivities or allergies, do your best to avoid them.
4. Plan ahead
When you have seasonal allergies, keep track of the pollen count wherever you are. Download pollen-counting apps, such as WebMD Allergy, or use the Weather.com allergy tracker. You can personalize your pollen counter to focus on grass, trees, or ragweed.
If you know it’s a high-pollen day, but you must be outdoors, take your medicine before leaving the house. Also carry it with you at all times. If you have asthma, carry your inhaler, too, and use it before exercise or anything that you know can trigger an attack.
5. Consider immunotherapy
Dr. Fuller offers a kind of allergy treatment called immunotherapy, sometimes referred to as allergy shots. Over a period of a few years, she administers a series of injections with gradually greater amounts of the allergen that troubles you. She also offers sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy.
Your body develops a tolerance to the small amounts of the allergens. As the doses increase, your tolerance increases, too. Eventually, your allergic reactions are drastically reduced or even completely absent.
Beat your allergy attacks by identifying your allergens and learning how to overcome your body’s response to them. Book an allergy test today by calling our friendly team at 310-828-7978 or using our online appointment request tool.