Allergies are among the most common types of chronic disease. More than 50 million people navigate allergies every year and allergies impact as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children in the United States. Otolaryngology Associates, LLC is an excellent resource for allergy care. Our practice offers comprehensive services including testing, diagnosis, and treatment plans at all seven convenient locations in Indianapolis, Greencastle, Greenfield, Kokomo, Noblesville, Carmel, Fishers, Avon, Greenwood, Mooresville, and Shelbyville, Indiana. If you or a loved one are suffering from allergy symptoms and looking for answers, call the office to schedule an appointment at your preferred location.

What are allergies?

Allergies occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to a substance that is not typically harmful to human beings. Substances known to trigger an allergic reaction are called allergens. There is a broad range of allergens that can trigger a reaction and a number of ways we can come into contact with those allergens such as inhaling, touching, and eating. 

The primary way allergies cause problematic symptoms is by producing inflammation. When your body comes into contact with an allergen, it identifies it as a threat which then activates its response system. This response system is intended to protect the body from potentially harmful substances. The body creates allergic antibodies, called immunoglobulin E (IgE) which target and eliminate the allergen. It does this by causing cells to release chemicals like histamine into the bloodstream.  This overreaction to a harmless allergen creates the symptoms we associate with allergies: itchy/watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, scratchy throat, swelling, hives, stomach, vomiting, difficulty breathing etc.

What are some common allergens?

Numerous substances can trigger an allergic reaction and reactions can differ among people who share allergens. Some of the more common allergens include:
Airborne Allergens

Airborne allergens

People are exposed to these types of allergens through the air, meaning they are inhaled. The most common types of airborne allergies include: 

  • Pollen: the most pervasive type of allergy, also known as hay fever. Pollen is a substance that is released by trees to fertilize other plants. This occurs seasonally, producing seasonal allergies (spring being the season with the highest pollen count). 
  • Molds: mold is a type of fungi that grows in indoor and outdoor spaces that retain more moisture (bathrooms, basements, trash piles etc.). 
  • Animal Dander: the skin and hair that pets shed as well as their saliva can also be the source of allergens. 
  • Dust: dust mites are microscopic insects that are part of the dust that accumulates in homes or apartments. 
        Food Allergens


        There is a wide range of food types that can be allergens. Though anyone can be allergic to any type of food, there are 8 groups that make up the most common food allergies: cow’s milk, fish, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy.
        Other Allergens


        Additional common allergens include medicines like antibiotics, chemicals including household cleaners, lates, wool, insect bites or stings, and tobacco smoke.
        This is far from a comprehensive list. There are many substances that can provoke an allergic reaction. Comprehensive allergy testing is a good way to determine which substances you are sensitive to.

        How does allergy testing work?

        There are two primary approaches to allergy testing: blood tests and skin tests. Blood testing works by drawing a sample of your blood and sending it to a lab. Technicians examine the sample for antibodies.

        Skin testing is a more common approach. This diagnostic tool works by creating a very small prick or scratch on the surface of your skin and then placing a tiny volume of a potential allergen in that area. If you are allergic to the tested substance, your body will react, and visible skin irritation will occur. 

        Skin testing is not painful, and many different substances can be screened for during one appointment. Another form of skin testing requires you to wear a small patch impregnated with potential allergens on your back for a couple of days to see if an allergic response occurs. 

        Once the Otolaryngology Associates, LLC team has determined which allergens trigger your immune system response, they can devise a customized treatment plan to help. That plan might involve medications, immunotherapy, and learning optimal preventive strategies.

        If you’re ready to fight back against allergies, call the office to schedule an appointment.

        Live Your Life to Its Fullest with Our Treatment Options
        Otolaryngology Associates provides top-quality Ear, Nose and Throat care from 13 full-service medical offices throughout central Indiana.
        Schedule an Appointment