Allergy & Immunology
Allergies affect an estimated one out of every three people, making it difficult for them to enjoy simple pleasures such as walking in the park or playing with the family pet. An allergic person is overly sensitive to harmless substances that cause no problems for most people.
The Allegheny Health Network Allergy, Asthma and Immunology departments offer individualized diagnosis and treatment for infants, children, adolescents and adults with allergies. Our physicians are leaders in the treatment and research of allergic and immune diseases. Care is offered in several convenient locations.
Our physicians are involved in pioneering research into more effective methods of diagnosis and treatment. In recent years, they have led nationally recognized research into the use of sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets as a convenient alternative to injections for allergy sufferers.
Our specialties include:
- Allergic Rhinitis/Hay Fever
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Drug Allergies
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis
- Hives/chronic urticaria/angioedema
- Food Allergies
- Insect Sting Sensitivity
- Nasal Polyps
- Needle-Free Allergy Treatment Alternatives
- Recurrent infections/Immune system dysfunction (non-HIV)
Information for Patients
Guidelines for Controlling your Allergies
Allergies can strike any season of the year, causing a runny or stuffy nose; itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; sinus pressure; hives; and ear irritation. Caused by the body’s overreaction to certain substances such as mold, animal dander, dust or pollen, allergic reactions range from merely bothersome to life threatening. Allergies have also been associated with chronic conditions like sinusitis and asthma. Many with an allergy think they have recurrent colds.
Allergies can be improved by following guidelines such as:
- Staying inside your air-conditioned home or car during peak pollen times
- Keeping your house windows closed and humidity < 50%; Vent the bathroom to the outside
- Drying shower curtains, cleaning window sills and walls, and vacuuming rugs with a HEPA filtered vacuum.
- Washing bedding frequently and encase mattress and pillows in dust mite proof cases
- Avoid indoor aerosol sprays, irritating fumes, tobacco smoke and wood smoke
If you are unable to determine what is triggering your allergy, your physician may administer an allergy skin test to get some answers. Once your allergies have been identified, your doctor will suggest a treatment plan that may include: environmental controls (to decrease the level of exposure to the offending allergen), oral medications (to decrease sneezing, runny nose and itchiness), antihistamines (to decrease sneezing, runny nose and itchiness), decongestants (to temporarily relieve a stuffy nose), nasal steroid sprays (to relieve nasal swelling), or eye drops (to ease itchy, watery eyes). Consult your doctor before using any allergy medication, especially if the trigger is unknown.
Food Allergies and Eosinophilic esophagitis
Living with food allergies can be a cause of anxiety for families. Never knowing when an accidental exposure will happen, and needing to constantly ask about how food was prepared lead many families of food allergy patients to avoid eating out at all. Understanding your triggers, learning to read food labels, and knowing when to start emergency treatment are best taught by an expert in the field. For more information about the Food Allergy & Eosinophilic Esophagitis Center, call 412.DOCTORS (412.362.8677).