Jefferson University Hospitals


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Allergies are one of the most common conditions affecting millions of American adults and children. If you have allergies, your body’s immune system overreacts to certain substances that are harmless to other people, triggering reactions that range from mild sniffles to the life-threatening medical emergency called anaphylaxis, a severe, whole-body reaction marked by swelling, hives, lowered blood pressure, difficulty breathing and a rapid, weak pulse.

Some people are confused by the difference between allergies and the common cold because both conditions can affect their sinuses, airways, digestive system and even their skin.  But colds are caused by viruses whereas allergies are caused by an oversensitive immune system. Distinguishing a cold from an allergy is difficult because many symptoms overlap. But, colds rarely last longer than 14 days, so if you still have symptoms after two weeks, you may have an allergy or another medical issue.

Another common misconception is that people are allergic to substances they don’t like. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a child or adult to develop an allergy to a favorite food, flower, well-loved pet or medication – and just as common for the allergic sensitivity to disappear as quickly as it arrived.

When to See a Specialist

No one allergy is the same, so when it comes to what's bothering you, you may need to see a certain kind of specialist. Jefferson Health has renowned staff of experts in various types of allergies who can treat you based on your diagnosis. 

For instance, if you're dealing with respiratory allergies of the upper and lower airways, you'll need to see an Otolaryngologist. Focusing on the ear, nose and throat, an Otolaryngologist can help when you're experiencing the symptoms of conditions such as sinusitis, nasal polyps, chronic rhinitis, septal deviation, nasal congestion, clogged ears, cough and voice problems.

A Pulmonary specialist, on the other hand, is the healthcare provider to see when it comes to lung problems, including asthma, COPD and bronchitis. 

Why Choose Jefferson

No matter what your allergy, Jefferson Health can help. Our board-certified specialists in allergy, pulmonology, otolaryngology, immunology and asthma can conduct diagnostic tests to determine if the problem is simply allergies, or allergies plus another medical condition or disease. Our team of experts will recommend a treatment plan designed to help alleviate the symptoms and manage the condition, based on their years of experience and latest clinical research.

Make an Appointment

Call 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669) and speak with a representative who will assist you in making an appointment with one of our specialists or request an appointment online.