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About Allergies

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Allergies develop when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance or food that normally causes no reaction in most people.

Your body produces chemicals called antibodies to fight dangerous germs. Allergic reactions are caused by the immune system producing antibodies to mistakenly combat a harmless substance. Common allergens include pollen, pet dander, insect stings, or certain foods. Your immune system's reaction to an allergen might inflame your skin, sinuses, lungs, or digestive tract when you come into contact with it.

Allergies vary in intensity from person to person. An allergic reaction may range from slight discomfort to anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal medical emergency. While most allergies are incurable, some therapies can help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Common Medication
Treatment Options
Below are some common allergy medications that a doctor or provider can prescribe to you for just $5 through SesameRx.
Below are common treatment options your doctor may recommend to treat allergies. Always defer to your doctor’s treatment plan.
FAQs

Allergy Care

What causes allergies?

Allergies happen when your body thinks that harmless substances, like pet dander or peanuts, are actually pathogens that could make you sick. When this happens, your body prompts an immune response - which causes the symptoms like itchy eyes, itchy or runny nose, and scratchy throat that make allergic reactions troublesome.

There is a wide range of things that can cause an allergy as well as a wide range of reactions you can get as a result. You may get hives from a drug allergy, an itchy tongue from a food allergy, sneezing from a pet allergy, or a cough from a mold allergy. Allergy triggers can come in many forms such as airborne particles like pollen or dust, or as a result of a sting.

Allergic reactions are one of the most common conditions allergists treat. These usually occur in the eyes, nose, throat, sinuses, lungs, and skin. Another common condition is hay fever (allergic rhinitis), which refers to allergic reactions that cause a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and itchy throat. These reactions are usually caused by an allergen like pollen, dust, or mold.

While many conditions like hay fever are the result of seasonal allergies and occur during certain times of the year, perennial allergies occur year-round. Asthma, for example, occurs when the airways in your lungs swell and inflame, which causes excess mucus and makes it hard to breathe. Allergens and irritants can also cause skin reactions like eczema (dermatitis) and hives.

Is there a way to cure allergies?

The short answer is no. But your symptoms related to the allergy are treatable. Immunology treatments such as sublingual immunotherapy can help decrease or eliminate your symptoms. Whether it's a food allergy or seasonal allergies, Sesame clears your way to care. You don't need insurance to save on quality care.

If you are experiencing severe allergic reactions including mouth swelling, vomiting, hives, dizziness, or difficulty breath, you should dial 911. These types of side effects are often (but not always) caused by insect stings, medication, or food allergies. Anaphylaxis can be a life-threatening emergency, so don't wait if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

What are the benefits of allergy treatment?

Allergy treatments can help you manage or eliminate symptoms related to allergies. Allergies occur because of the over-production of antibodies by your immune system. An allergist can help you determine what allergens cause your immune system to overreact and, with proper treatment, get back to living the life you want to live without the fuss of allergies.

How do I avoid allergies?

Your allergy will dictate how you avoid it. For example, if you have a food allergy your doctor might recommend that you read food labels before eating. Perhaps you're sneezing because of an indoor allergen, such as mold or dust mites. In that case, your doctor might suggest the use of a dehumidifier or air purifier. Seasonal allergies might lead you to check pollen counts in your area. The solution is closely tied to the type and severity of allergy you experience.

Is there a difference between an allergist and an immunologist?

Allergists and immunologists are almost the same thing!

Allergists and immunologists are both trained in internal medicine and to diagnose and treat allergies, asthma, and other disorders of the immune system. Though allergists focus closely on treating allergic diseases, while immunologists specialize in disorders of the immune system, the two specialties have a lot of overlap. They are also certified by the same regulators--the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, the American Board of Pediatrics, and the American Board of Internal Medicine.

What allergy treatment options can an allergist provide?

Though it is best to speak with an allergist for medical advice regarding your particular allergy, there are a few widely accepted allergy testing and allergy services available to keep in mind when looking for an allergy doctor. These include:

- Skin allergy test: This could be in the form of a prick test, a scratch/scrape test, a patch test, or applying the allergen directly to the skin.

- Blood test: Sometimes a skin disease can prevent a skin test from providing accurate results. A blood test can be used to confirm a skin test result.

- Provocation test: A test that applies an allergen in varying amounts to the mucous lining of the nose to see if you have allergies such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis).

When is allergy season?

Allergy season is dependent on what allergy you have and where you live. Common allergy seasons include spring and fall for high pollen counts, while mold allergies occur when it's moist. This could mean winter if you live in the midwest, or from winter to spring if you live in the Pacific Northwest. It all depends on your allergy and your location.

You don't have to wait for fall, winter, or spring to arrive to get treatment for allergies. Book a virtual or in-person visit with an allergist without the fuss of an insurance company. You get fair, upfront prices for every service with Sesame. See who you want, when you want. No mark-ups or restrictions. Yep, it's really that simple.

What are some of the most common seasonal allergies?

Spring is in the air - and so are the allergies. Common seasonal allergies include:

Weed pollen: Ragweed, pigweed, tumbleweed, and sagebrush are major hayfever producers. Hayfever from weed pollen can often last from spring till fall.

Flower pollen: Sunflowers, daisies, and chamomile are some common flowers that cause allergies.

Tree pollen: Many trees have pollen that irritates some people including pine, beech, elm, hickory, walnut, sycamore, and pecan.

Grass: Grass pollinates in spring in most regions of the US.

Mold and mildew: Fungi that can spread in moist areas, often in humid places. During wetter months, mold counts rise, often causing more cases of allergy-related symptoms.

Animal dander: It isn't the hair of a dog that causes the allergy. That is a misnomer. It's actually a protein in a dog's saliva and urine that can stick to fur and dander causing the allergy to occur. That is why hairless dogs are less likely to cause irritation because they don't shed the saliva-ridden particles as much as a dog with fur. Animal dander is more common during the winter months.

What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergy symptoms can include allergic rhinitis (sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, sinus pressure or pain, nasal congestion), and swollen or red itchy eyes. If your symptoms become unmanageable, consider seeing a doctor.

How can you treat seasonal allergies?

Your allergist might recommend the use of over-the-counter medications including antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, and nasal sprays depending on your allergy triggers.

For more severe allergies your doctor may recommend allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots, tablets, or drops), which can train your body to become less sensitive to the allergen. Before you begin treatment, your doctor may start with a blood test or skin test to determine which specific allergen you have, and then create a treatment plan specific to you that usually lasts for 3 to 6 months. A secondary maintenance phase can last around 3 to 5 years or sometimes longer.

Can allergies cause a skin rash?

Skin rash is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of skin reactions. There are countless causes of skin irritation, and skin rashes may take a variety of forms. Most cases of skin rash result in skin that is itchy, red, swollen, scaly, dry, or blistering. The symptoms and appearance of a skin rash will often help determine the irritant causing the reaction.

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) and contact dermatitis occur when the skin has an allergic reaction after exposure to an irritant. Poison ivy, sumac, poison oak, ingredients in creams or lotions, and nickel metal are all examples of irritants that may cause an allergic reaction. Eczema may also be caused by dry skin, genetics, or an immune system condition. Most allergic reactions result in itchy skin, red spots, and scaly patches around the affected area. Dermatitis on the scalp can cause dandruff and hair loss if left untreated.

Dealing with itchy skin? Book an in-person or video allergy/ dermatology consult on Sesame to talk with a real, quality dermatologist or allergist. Doctors on Sesame can address your symptoms, prescribe medication, and offer referrals if necessary. Save up to 60% on skin care when you book a visit on Sesame- no insurance needed.

Can doctors on Sesame treat anaphylaxis or other emergency allergic reactions?

No. If you are having symptoms of anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, please call 911 immediately.

Anaphylaxis is a rare and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction caused by certain triggers like insect stings or food allergies. Common symptoms, which appear within seconds or minutes of exposure, include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, or shortness of breath. If you are experiencing any of these fast appearing symptoms seek medical attention immediately.

Can my provider prescribe medication?

Yes, physicians on Sesame can prescribe a wide range of medications, which can be useful for infections, allergies, and other acute ailments. Please note that they will not prescribe certain drugs, such as narcotics or medications that have been designated controlled substances through telehealth.

Otherwise, many of the prescriptions available in an office setting or urgent care can be prescribed if your clinician deems it appropriate.

Can you get a prescription online?

Sesame makes it easier than ever to get a prescription or refill a prescription from the comfort of your own home! To discuss a new prescription or refill, book a video visit with a doctor on Sesame. Physicians on Sesame can prescribe drugs that help treat infections, allergies, high blood pressure, and more.

Note that doctors on Sesame cannot prescribe controlled substances.

Plus, because Sesame works to set prices directly with doctors, you can find visits with doctors at rates up to 60% less than what you’ll find through insurance networks.

Book a video visit on Sesamecare.com based on the health care you need, and pick up a new prescription or existing prescription refill at a pharmacy of your choice. If you don’t want to go pick up a prescription in-person, many pharmacies offer a prescription mail service for home delivery. Your medication will be shipped directly to you. Browse services on Sesame, set up an appointment with a real doctor at your convenience, and get the care you need. It’s simple, convenient, and affordable. Book a visit today!

What is loratadine?

Loratadine - often sold under the brand name Claritin - is a medication used to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies in adults and children ages 6 and older. Loratadine is what’s known as a “non-sedating antihistamine,” which works by blocking a natural substance (histamine) that causes allergic symptoms. You do not need a prescription to use Loratadine.

Allergies are very common. More than 50 million Americans experience them - and the runny noses and sore throats that come with them - each year. Allergies occur when your immune system gets confused and overreacts. In some cases, your body erroneously thinks that seasonal irritants, like pollen, for example, are harmful attackers and triggers an immune response to fend them off. A natural substance in your body called histamine induces this response.

What is loratadine used to treat?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved loratadine to relieve the symptoms of hay fever (allergy to dust, pollen, or other particles in the air) and other allergies such as dust mites, animal dander, and molds. These symptoms may include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, and itching of the nose or throat. Loratadine can also be used to treat the itching and redness of the skin caused by hives (which doctors sometimes call urticaria).

What are the most common side effects of loratadine?

While there are some common side effects associated with loratadine, it is important to remember that your doctor prescribed this medication because they believe that its ability to control your allergies outweighs any adverse effects it may cause.

You may still experience some common side effects, though. These can include:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nosebleed
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth sores
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Nervousness
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Red or itchy eyes

Call your doctor if any of these side effects are severe or if they do not go away.

Stop taking loratadine and contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Wheezing

This is not a complete list of loratadine side effects. For more information on adverse effects you may experience while taking this drug, visit the National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage.

How long does it take for loratadine to work?

Most people will feel the effects of loratadine within the first hour of taking it and will experience at least 24 hours of symptom relief with a single dose.

How does loratadine work?

Loratadine is a non-sedating antihistamine. Antihistamines work by completely blocking the effects of a substance called histamine in your body.

Histamine is released by your body when it detects something harmful, such as an infection. This causes your blood vessels to expand and your skin to swell, which helps to protect the body. When people have allergies, the body mistakes harmless particles in the air - like animal hair, pollen, or dust - for a threat and releases histamine. This flood of histamine causes unpleasant symptoms like itching, sneezing, and a runny nose. Blocking the release of histamine helps to relieve these symptoms.

Loratadine is a second-generation antihistamine. Second-generation antihistamines are more selective about which receptors they block and do not cross the blood-brain barrier. This helps to reduce or eliminate adverse effects like sedation while still providing relief.

What is cetirizine?

Cetirizine is an over-the-counter medication used to relieve allergy symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, and itching of the nose or throat.

Millions of Americans suffer from allergies every year. Allergies happen when your immune system gets confused. In some cases, your body may mistake harmless substances - like tree pollen or dog fur - as dangerous invaders. In this case, it may trigger an immune response to fend off the mistaken threat, causing you to feel many of the symptoms that make allergies a pain.

Tired of itching your eyes, blowing your nose, and clearing your throat? Talk to your doctor about whether cetirizine may be right for you.

What is cetirizine used to treat?

Cetirizine has been approved by the FDA to temporarily relieve the symptoms of hay fever (allergy to dust, pollen, or other particles in the air) and other allergies like dust mites, animal dander, and molds. These symptoms tend to include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, and itching of the nose or throat. Cetirizine is also used to treat the itching and redness of skin caused by hives.

What are the most common side effects of cetirizine?

Cetirizine is generally well-tolerated. The most common side effects are drowsiness, fatigue, dry mouth, and dizziness. Rare but serious side effects include severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, itching, and hives. Seek medical attention right away if you experience any allergic reactions or unusual side effects.

Ask a doctor before use if you have liver or kidney disease, or if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant. Be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery after taking Cetirizine. Consumption of alcohol or other downers may increase the likelihood of drowsiness when taking Cetirizine.

How long does it take for cetirizine to work?

Most people will feel the effects of Cetirizine within the first hour of taking it and will experience at least 24 hours of relief with a single dose.

How does cetirizine work?

Cetirizine is a non-sedating antihistamine. Antihistamines work by completely blocking the effects of a substance called histamine in your body.

Histamine is released by your body when it detects something harmful, such as an infection. This causes your blood vessels to expand and your skin to swell, which helps to protect the body. When people have allergies, the body mistakes harmless particles in the air - like animal hair, pollen, or dust - for a threat and releases histamine. This flood of histamine causes unpleasant symptoms like itching, sneezing, and a running nose. Blocking the release of histamine helps to relieve these symptoms.

What is montelukast?

Montelukast - generic for Singulair - is a prescription medication used to treat asthma (including exercise-induced asthma) and some environmental allergies like hayfever.

Montelukast is commonly prescribed as an oral tablet meant to be taken once a day.

What is montelukast used to treat?

Montelukast is primarily used to prevent asthma attacks and lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Montelukast should not be used as a treatment for sudden asthma attacks. If you are experiencing a sudden asthma attack, seek medical attention immediately. Signs of an asthma attack include shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.

What are the most common side effects of montelukast?

You may experience some side effects while taking montelukast, though these side effects are generally mild. If you feel like this medicine may be causing you to have a side effect, please check back in with your doctor.

Common side effects may include headaches, fevers, sore throats, runny nose, sinus irritation, heartburn, and diarrhea. These side effects are usually mild and temporary. If you experience persistent or severe symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

This is not a complete list of side effects associated with montelukast. To learn more about adverse reactions you may experience, visit the [National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage].(https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=6eea668f-a2fa-447f-b2d5-4c754d13d9fa "Montelukast - National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage")

How long does it take for montelukast to work?

Montelukast will start to decrease inflammation in the respiratory passage and reduce nasal congestion almost immediately. If your doctor has prescribed montelukast to treat exercise-induced asthma, it is recommended that you take the medication 2 hours before exercise. That way, it has time to work before physical activity.

It may take several days to a week for you to feel the full effects of montelukast. Do not stop taking montelukast without consulting your doctor. Even if you feel well, or feel that your symptoms have been significantly reduced, you should continue to take montelukast as directed. Montelukast is meant to prevent symptoms over a long period of time, and discontinuing use can lead to worsening asthma or allergies.

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