Allergies services offered in Chelmsford, Concord and Woburn, MA and Nashua and Derry, NH

Whether you have a runny nose, itchy eyes, or skin rashes, allergies can make you miserable, but there's no reason to put up with your symptoms. The experienced physicians at Massachusetts Ear, Nose and Throat Associates, with offices in Chelmsford, Woburn, and Concord, Massachusetts, and Nashua and Derry, New Hampshire, offer allergy testing and personalized treatments that give you well-deserved symptom relief. To get help for your allergies, book an appointment online or call the nearest office today.

What causes allergies?

You develop allergies when your immune system mistakenly identifies a substance as a threat. The substance is normally safe, but an overactive immune system labels it as harmful.

When you inhale, touch, or consume the substance (allergen), it triggers an immune reaction, and allergy symptoms appear.

The most common allergens include:

  • Pollen (trees, flowers, grasses, weeds)
  • Poison ivy, oak, and sumac
  • Mold spores
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Food proteins
  • Insect venom
  • Medicines
  • Nickel
  • Latex

A variety of medicines may cause an allergy, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and penicillin.

What symptoms do allergies cause?

The symptoms depend on the allergen. As a group, allergies cause symptoms such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Congested nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Itchy nose and eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Headaches
  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

Airborne allergens mostly affect your nose, eyes, and throat, while allergens you touch cause skin rashes, and food allergies cause gastrointestinal problems.

Do allergies cause a severe reaction?

Allergies to food, insects, latex, and medicine put you at risk of having a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.

Your symptoms appear rapidly during an anaphylactic reaction, causing hives, swelling in your tongue and throat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and fainting. This is a medical emergency. You need to self-inject epinephrine and dial 911 immediately.

How are allergies diagnosed?

Massachusetts Ear, Nose and Throat Associates does skin prick testing in the office. That involves placing a small drop of multiple allergens on your arm and gently pricking the skin under the allergen.

You wait in the office for 15-20 minutes. If you're allergic to any of the allergens, you develop a skin reaction on that spot. The test identifies your specific allergen(s) and allows your provider to create a customized treatment plan.

How are allergies treated?

Allergy treatment typically begins by avoiding your allergens as much as possible and using over-the-counter medications. If these steps don't help, you have severe symptoms, or you have an allergy that may cause anaphylaxis, your provider recommends allergy shots. They also prescribe an epinephrine pen when needed.

Allergy shots inject increasing amounts of your allergen. As you get a series of shots, your immune system gets used to the substance and stops reacting. Though the process may take several years, your allergies significantly improve or disappear.

If you have allergy symptoms, especially if they're severe, you can get relief at Massachusetts Ear, Nose and Throat Associates. Call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.