Information for Patients
Also called: Hypersensitivity
An allergy is a reaction by your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing. Substances that often cause reactions are
- Dust mites
- Mold spores
- Pet dander
- Insect stings
Normally, your immune system fights germs. It is your body's defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, it is responding to a false alarm. Genes and the environment probably both play a role.
Allergies can cause a variety of symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, itching, rashes, swelling, or asthma. Allergies can range from minor to severe. Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction that can be life-threatening. Doctors use skin and blood tests to diagnose allergies. Treatments include medicines, allergy shots, and avoiding the substances that cause the reactions.
NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
- Allergic reactions (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Allergic rhinitis - self-care (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Allergies (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Allergies, asthma, and dust (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Allergies, asthma, and molds (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Allergy testing - skin (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Angioedema (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Antihistamines for allergies (Medical Encyclopedia)
Also called: Otitis media
Ear infections are the most common reason parents bring their child to a doctor. Three out of four children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Adults can also get ear infections, but they are less common.
The infection usually affects the middle ear and is called otitis media. The tubes inside the ears become clogged with fluid and mucus. This can affect hearing, because sound cannot get through all that fluid.
If your child isn't old enough to say "My ear hurts," here are a few things to look for
- Tugging at ears
- Crying more than usual
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Trouble sleeping
- Balance difficulties
- Hearing problems
Your health care provider will diagnose an ear infection by looking inside the ear with an instrument called an otoscope.
Often, ear infections go away on their own. Your health care provider may recommend pain relievers. Severe infections and infections in young babies may require antibiotics.
Children who get infections often may need surgery to place small tubes inside their ears. The tubes relieve pressure in the ears so that the child can hear again.
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- Cholesteatoma (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Ear discharge (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Ear examination (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Ear infection - acute (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Ear infection - chronic (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Ear tube insertion (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Earache (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Otitis media with effusion (Medical Encyclopedia)
- Swimmer's ear (Medical Encyclopedia)