Allergies: Key points
St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Pediatric Center

Allergies: Key points
  • Your body's immune system is designed to attack harmful substances, like bacteria and viruses. With allergies, your immune system attacks substances that are basically harmless -- such as pollen, mold, dust mites, pet dander, food, latex, and medications. Allergies can be caused by just about any substance that you inhale, swallow, or touch.
  • Allergies can cause a range of annoying symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy skin, and itchy eyes. Allergies can aggravate or trigger other conditions, such as asthma, sinusitis, and ear infections.
  • An allergist is a physician who specializes in allergies and asthma. An allergist can use to pinpoint what causes your allergies. The results of your allergy tests tell you what substances you need to avoid. For every allergen, there are specific steps you can take to reduce exposure to it.
  • If avoiding the allergen doesn't provide enough relief, consider medication. Antihistamines are one of the most common types of allergy medication. Nonprescription antihistamines may offer short-term relief, can cause drowsiness, and may blunt learning in children. A nonprescription nasal spray is available that does not have these effects. Prescription medications, too, generally have fewer of these unwanted effects.
  • Some people may want to consider allergy shots (immunotherapy). Over time, the shots may help your body get used to the substances that cause your allergies. However, allergy shots take a high level of commitment, usually for years. They also don't work for everyone.
  • Allergy shots can be used for most airborne allergens, including tree, grass, and weed pollens, mold spores, dust mites, and animal dander. Allergy shots can prevent severe sting reactions from honeybees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, or fire ants.
  • Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction involving the entire body. Causes include certain foods and insect stings. The body goes into shock, leading to a sharp drop in blood pressure, respiratory arrest, and possible heart failure.
  • If you've ever had a severe allergic reaction to something, wear a medical I.D. bracelet or necklace to alert emergency staff. Write an action plan and tell friends, family, and co-workers how to respond in case of emergency. Always carry an injectable epinephrine kit (such as EpiPen or Twinject) in case of a severe reaction.


Review Date: 6/29/2011
Reviewed By: Paula J. Busse, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Back  |  Top
About Us
Contact Us
Locations & Directions
Quality Reports
Annual Reports
Honors & Awards
Community Health Needs

Brain & Spine
Sleep Medicine
Urgent Care
Women's Services
All Services
Patients & Visitors
Locations & Directions
Find a Physician
Tour St. Luke's
Patient & Visitor Information
Contact Us
Payment Options
Financial Assistance
Send a Card
Mammogram Appointments
Health Tools
My Personal Health
Spirit of Women
Health Information & Tools
Clinical Trials
Employer Programs -
Passport to Wellness

Classes & Events
Classes & Events
Spirit of Women
Donate & Volunteer
Giving Opportunities
Physicians & Employees
For Physicians
Remote Access
Medical Residency Information
Pharmacy Residency Information
Physician CPOE Training
St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile