Allergy and Asthma Center
Allergists located in McLean, VA
Allergies affect more than 50 million Americans, and they’re the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. As an allergy expert, Anita N. Wasan, MD, at Allergy and Asthma Center welcomes children and adults, where she devotes enough time at each appointment to listen to your concerns and help you find relief from your allergy symptoms. To schedule an appointment, use online booking or call the office in McLean, Virginia.
Allergy Q & A
What causes allergies?
An allergy starts when your immune system tags a harmless substance as a danger to your body. That substance is now an allergen and every time you encounter it in the future, your immune system releases numerous chemicals that cause an allergic reaction.
These are some of the most common allergens:
- Airborne allergens such as pollen (tree and ragweed), mold, dust mites, and pet dander
- Contact allergens: poison ivy, soap products, and latex
- Food allergens: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish.
- Insect stings or bites: bees, wasps, and yellow jackets.
Many medications can cause an allergic reaction, but penicillin is the most frequent culprit.
What symptoms develop due to allergies?
Airborne allergens typically cause symptoms that affect your eyes and nose, contact allergens may cause a skin rash, and food allergies can result in a wide range of symptoms. As a group, however, allergies cause symptoms such as:
- Runny or congested nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy nose, eyes, or mouth
- Skin rashes, hives, or eczema
- Abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea
Food allergies are unique because they can cause body-wide symptoms, from eczema and hives to sneezing, nasal congestion, and gastrointestinal problems.
What type of allergy test might I need?
Before you can receive treatment for an allergy, your specific allergen must be identified with allergy testing. The team at Allergy and Asthma Center perform a range of tests including:
- Skin testing using a small, plastic Greer® Pick® to gently puncture your skin
- Skin testing using the multi-test 10-headed scratch test
- Lab test including blood draw
- Trial elimination diet
During any skin test, a small amount of allergen is applied to your skin, and a small puncture is made that allows the allergen to get under your skin. If you’re allergic, you’ll have a skin reaction within about 15 minutes.
How are allergies treated?
Dr. Wasan helps you with all aspects of your allergy treatment including developing a plan to avoid allergens, creating an elimination diet, prescribing medications to help specific symptoms, and administering allergy shots.
When you receive allergy shots, you’re injected with a small dose of your allergen on a regular schedule. Dr. Wasan gradually increases the dose until your body builds up a tolerance to the allergen. Over time, you’ll stop having an allergic reaction, or your allergies will become milder.
To receive allergy testing and treatment, call Allergy and Asthma Center or book an appointment online today.