Finding Relief: Who to Talk to When Allergies Strike
| 4 min read
How and when allergies develop
- Mold and mildew
- Dust mites, hair and fur
- Pollens, plus insect bites and stings
- Tobacco smoke and car exhaust
- Staple foods like peanuts, tree nuts, cow’s milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish
- Rhinitis: Runny or stuffy noses with sneezing, often mistaken for the common cold
- Dermatitis: Skin rashes and inflammation, coming in the form of eczema and hives
- Persistent nausea and vomiting (can also be caused by a food allergy)
- Hay fever: Itchy, watery eyes and nasal swelling
- Anaphylaxis: A drop in blood pressure and difficulty breathing, mostly triggered by a staple food. An episode, called anaphylactic shock, can be life-threatening.
Where to find relief for allergies
- Understand your symptoms: Often it can be difficult to tell if you or your child actually has “hay fever” or is just suffering from the common cold. Blue Cross PPO and Blue Care Network HMO members can ring up the 24-Hour Nurse Line to figure out if an allergic reaction is occurring. The trained professionals can be a calm, guiding force and let you know where to go for proper treatment. Blue Cross Online VisitsSM are another option that you can access any time of the day, right from your smartphone or desktop computer. But, in-person visits with a specialist are recommended.
- Receive an allergy test: First and foremost, you should first visit your primary care doctor to get a formal evaluation of the smaller health problems (e.g., inflamed skin, shortness of breath) you think may be tied to an allergy. Your doctor can administer a variety of blood or skin tests or refer you to an allergist if the situation requires it. No matter if it is a developing food or seasonal allergy, they have the resources and qualifications to diagnose and treat.
- Get your medications: Depending on your allergy, retail health clinics are able to fill prescriptions and give over-the-counter medications to manage symptoms. Bring your prescription straight from your doctor’s appointment to get everything you need to fight allergies, all in one trip.
- Watch for severe allergic reactions: In the event of anaphylactic shock, where there may be chest pain, tightness in the lungs, swelling and difficulty breathing, immediately call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.