Allergy and immunology care
Get high-quality care to identify the cause of your symptoms, find relief, and help you manage allergies and asthma long term. Look to the experienced allergists who are members of the medical staff at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
What’s an allergy?
Allergies happen when your immune system mistakenly identifies a substance in your body, on your skin, or in your environment as harmful even though it isn’t. Those substances are called allergens, and your body becomes hypersensitive to them. Exposure to the allergen again makes your body produces antibodies that cause a reaction or allergy symptoms.
If allergies and asthma run in your family, you have a higher risk for developing them. Your child may have a higher risk if one or both of their parents have allergies.
Depending on the type of allergy, you may experience:
- Cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath
- Hives, redness, or itching
- Itchy eyes, nose, or roof of your mouth
- Red, watery eyes
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat
- Tingling in the mouth
Talk to your primary care provider if you have symptoms frequently or they affect your quality of life. You may receive a referral to an allergist (sometimes called an immunologist) for specialized care.
Common immune system conditions we treat include:
- Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction
- Airborne allergies to pet dander, dust, pollen, mold, dust mites, grasses, trees, and more
- Asthma, a chronic (long-term) respiratory condition that causes airway inflammation (swelling) that makes it hard to breathe
- Food allergies, including peanut, wheat, soy, shellfish, egg, and milk allergies
- Insect sting allergies
- Medication reactions
- Skin reactions to things you touch (contact dermatitis), such as chemicals, nickel, and latex
- Sinusitis (inflammation of the nasal sinuses)
Though there’s no cure for asthma, treatment can help you breathe easier. Expect your doctor to discuss your health history and perform breathing tests to measure how well your lungs and airways work.
Asthma treatment may include long-lasting and quick-acting medications to control your symptoms and open your airways. Your doctor may prescribe and provide education on using an inhaler.
Allergy testing and diagnosis
Count on our trained allergists to help you identify triggers and diagnose the cause of your symptoms using safe, effective tests. Your doctor may recommend:
- Blood test – Uses a blood sample for allergy testing
- Skin test – Places a small amount of allergen on your skin to see if you have an allergic reaction
- Intradermal test – Injects a small amount of allergen into your skin and watches for a reaction at the site
- Patch test – Applies different substances to your skin and looks for reactions
- Oral food challenge – Gives you a small amount of a food to see if you have a reaction while you’re under the supervision of an allergist
Symptom relief and treatments
Your doctor will develop a treatment plan to reduce or eliminate your allergy symptoms. Depending on the type of allergy, you may benefit from:
- Lifestyle changes, such as using an air purifier in your home
- Practicing self-care to ease symptoms, such as rinsing your sinuses
- Medications, like prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal sprays
- Allergy shots, also called allergen immunotherapy or desensitization
- Carrying an epinephrine shot or rescue inhaler