Allergies occur when the body overreacts to usually harmless substances. People are allergic to different substances (allergens); such substances include pollen, dust, certain foods, mild, medicine and insect stings. On contact with these allergens, the reactions can range from mild to severe and might include skin rashes, blockage of air pathways or coughing and sneezing. Some allergic reactions have been known to cause death. In the US it is estimated that about fifty million people have allergies and requires allergy testing. A study in the US revealed that six of Florida’s cities were ranked among those with very high numbers of people with allergies.
The study that was conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked cities on a 100 point scale based on their average pollen count, the rate of allergen medicine use and the ratio of allergists to patients. Luckily for us, allergies can be tested and managed quite effectively thanks to an effective and efficient allergen determination method. The allergy testing can be done on the skin or a drop of blood collected from the patient and tested in the laboratory. These tests must be conducted only by a qualified allergist. An early determination of the type of allergy not only enables it properly managed; it could also prevent an imminent death.
The importance of allergy testing especially in Florida cannot be over emphasized. The amounts of common allergens in Florida are relatively higher than in most other states. The amounts of pollen are especially quite high which predisposes people living in Florida to allergies; especially non-natives who move to Florida. Studies have shown that exposure to allergens at an early age causes the body to recognize them as non-foreign bodies and thus the body is less likely to overreact to these otherwise harmless substances. This does not, however, mean that the natives are immune to allergies.
A child born to an average family in Florida is in fact very unlikely to make contact with allergen until they are a bit older and go out to parks or begin to try out different types of food. That being said it is also important to recognize the fact that some of us are born with these allergies and thus we should know the allergen and its triggers. A classic example, especially in Florida, would be asthma (there are very high numbers of asthmatic people in Florida compared to most other cities). Certain allergens may trigger an asthma attack; which would cause the airways to be blocked; such a condition can cause death in a matter of minutes.
It might sound cliché but prevention is better than cure. We surely do not control our body’s reaction to substances. We cannot even predict when we will encounter an allergen. After in allergy testing, you not only determine if you are allergic to anything; you are provided with effective management options. In 2017 more and more people are being diagnosed with allergies. Studies show that this can be attributed that as much as our cleaner environments are good for preventing disease; very clean environments have actually caused more of us to get allergies. So if you’ve been experiencing any symptoms you suspect to be due to an allergy; it is time to schedule that test with your allergist.