Allergies Specialist

Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan -  - Board Certified Internal Medicine Physician

Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan

Board Certified Internal Medicine Physicians & Board Certified Pediatricians located in Grand Rapids, MI

With a multitude of environmental, pet, and food allergens — and everything in between — it can be difficult to determine what’s triggering your allergic reactions. With their expertise in diagnosing allergies, the team at Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan can help you take control of your allergies once and for all. Call the office, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, or schedule an evaluation online.

Allergies Q&A

What causes allergies?

You develop allergies to specific substances because your immune system interprets that the particle is harmful. Rather than ignoring the substance, your immune system starts producing antibodies to fight the “attacker,” even though it really isn’t harmful.

These antibodies cause widespread inflammation while trying to fight off foreign invaders, which is why you experience swelling, difficulty breathing, and related side effects. 

While anyone of any age can have allergies, they’re more likely to develop them if you:

  • Are younger
  • Have asthma
  • Have a family history of asthma or allergies

Plus, once you have a known allergy, you’re more likely to develop other types of allergies, too.

How are allergies diagnosed?

The team of experts at Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan often uses a combination of onsite blood and skin testing to diagnose allergies. By drawing a small amount of blood from your arm and checking for specific antibodies, they can see if you have some of the most common allergies.

Depending on your blood test results or the severity of your symptoms, your physician could also perform a skin test that helps pinpoint multiple types of allergies on the spot. During a skin test, your practitioner applies several drops of allergen proteins to your skin and gently scratches your skin.

If you’re allergic, you develop an itchy rash or hive, which immediately signifies that you’re allergic to the substance. The benefit of skin tests — aside from being able to test for dozens of allergens at once — is that results are immediate. You won’t have to wait for lab tests to come back.

Are there effective treatments for allergies?

While no cure exists for allergies, you can easily manage attacks. Once the team at Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan better understands what’s triggering your allergic reactions, they can teach you exactly what to avoid. Part of your treatment plan could include specialized medications that suppress your immune system and lessen the severity of allergy attacks.

Many allergy sufferers also benefit from immunotherapy. This revolutionary treatment involves regularly injecting purified allergen extracts into your skin, which gradually forces your immune system to start getting used to them. Immunotherapy can take years to take full effect, though, so you still need regular medications.

If you have a severe allergy, your physician is likely going to recommend keeping an emergency epinephrine shot with you. This injection can prevent life-threatening anaphylaxis shock when you’re exposed to the allergen.

If you have allergies, you can start your treatment plan today with the help of the team at Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan. Schedule an evaluation online or over the phone today.