Allergies Specialist
Having an allergy attack is more than just a mild rash or runny nose. If you’re severely allergic to something in your environment that isn’t normally harmful, it’s important to get an exact diagnosis as soon as possible. Undiagnosed allergies can lead to anaphylaxis shock, a potentially life-threatening attack. Using modern technology, ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. Michel Babajanian -- who serves the Century City area -- can get to the root of your problem in as little as 1 appointment.

Allergies Q & A

by Michel Babajanian, MD, FACS

What causes an allergy attack?

Your immune system is your body’s internal shield. It protects you from illness-causing bacteria and viruses. This defensive system also safeguards you from allergens, which are normally harmless. For some people, though, allergens cause the immune system to overreact. Your body releases chemicals called “histamines” to protect you from what your immune system thinks is a dangerous allergen. This is when you feel the side effects of having an allergy.

What sort of symptoms happen during an allergy attack?

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Stuffy nose or congestion
  • Rashes, hives, blisters, or skin peeling
  • Red, itchy, swollen eyes
  • Vomiting or diarrhea, for food allergies

Which allergens can trigger an attack?

Allergens are everywhere, so avoiding them is nearly impossible. But some allergens are less common, or you might be unaware of them. So if you suspect you have an allergy, see if any of the allergens below might be the culprit:

  • Pet dander
  • Bug bites
  • Pollen, mold, or dust
  • Prescription or over-the-counter medication
  • Food (peanuts, eggs, wheat, soy, nuts, fish, milk, or shellfish)

Why should I see an ear, nose, and throat doctor for food allergies?

Several ear, nose, and throat disorders are linked to food allergies. Since food allergies are tricky to diagnose, some of these disorders get overlooked. For instance, Meniere's disease -- a condition that affects your inner ear, often leaving you dizzy -- has ties to food allergies. In some cases, finding the underlying allergen can help your symptoms improve. Other conditions, such as rhinitis, nasal polyps, and chronic inner ear infections, are also linked to food allergens.

What types of treatments are available for allergies?

The type of treatment depends on your allergy and the severity of an attack. Since Dr. Babajanian can screen for allergens right in his state-of-the-art office, you can often find out exactly what’s triggering your attacks the same day as your exam. He can prescribe antihistamines, corticosteroids, allergy injections, or decongestants, as needed, to help relieve your allergy symptoms. In severe cases, Dr. Babajanian can also offer you an epinephrine injection prescription, so you can inject yourself if a life-threatening allergy attack occurs.

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Michel Babajanian, MD, FACS
2080 Century Park East
Suite 1700
Los Angeles, CA 90067