Allergies

Allergies Specialist
Allergies can cause discomfort if they are seasonal, or be potentially hazardous to health if they are more severe. Dr. Nkem Nnaeto offers treatment options for allergies at Universal Pediatric, Inc. in East Orange, Essex County, New Jersey.

Allergies Q & A

by Nkem Nnaeto, MD, FAAP

What are allergies?

Allergies are an overreaction of the body's natural defensive systems used to fight infections, also known as the immune system. An allergic reaction causes the immune system to start fighting the substances that are usually harmless as though these substances were trying to attack the body. Allergic reactions can be mild, annoying, or even life-threatening. An allergic reaction becomes more serious when anaphylaxis occurs, when allergies cause other problems (such as nosebleeds, ear problems, wheezing, or coughing), or when home treatment doesn't help.

What is a nut allergy?

Allergic reactions to peanuts are one of the most common causes of severe allergy attacks. Some peanut allergies can cause symptoms that are life-threatening such as anaphylaxis. For some people with peanut allergy, even the smallest amounts of peanuts can cause a serious reaction. Peanut allergies increase in children. Even if you or your child has had only a mild allergic reaction to peanuts, it's important to talk to your doctor because there is still a risk of a more serious future reaction.

What are seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies usually begin in in February and last until early summer. Mild winters or rainy springs can also cause plants to pollinate early, causing symptoms to last longer. Ragweed is the most common cause of fall allergies and it is a plant that grows wild almost everywhere. Other plants that trigger fall allergies include:

  • Burning bush
  • Cocklebur
  • Lamb’s-quarters
  • Pigweed
  • Sagebrush and mugwort
  • Tumbleweed and Russian thistle

While the timing and severity of an allergy season can be varied, some climate factors also can influence how bad your symptoms might be. These include:

  • Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days.
  • Molds grow quickly in heat and high humidity.
  • Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours.
  • Rain washes pollen away, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall.
  • On a day with no wind, airborne allergens are grounded.
  • When the day is windy and warm, pollen counts surge.

Moving to another climate to avoid allergies is usually not successful — allergens are virtually everywhere.

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