The doctor may also check your reaction to physical triggers by apply heat, cold, or other stimulation to your body and watching for an allergic response.

Sometimes, a suspected allergen is dissolved and dropped into the lower eyelid to check for an allergic reaction. This should only be done by a health care provider.

Treatment: Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) require treatment with a medicine called epinephrine, which can be life saving when immediately given.

The best way to reduce symptoms is to try and avoid what causes your allergies in the first place. This is especially important for food and drug allergies.

There are several types of medications available to prevent and treat allergies. Which medicine your doctor recommends depends on the type and severity of your symptoms, your age, and overall health.

Specific illnesses that are caused by allergies (such as asthma, hay fever, and eczema) may require other treatments.

Medications that can be used to treat allergies include:

ANTIHISTAMINES

Antihistamines are available over-the-counter and by prescription. They are available in many forms, including:

Capsules and pills Eye drops Injection Liquid Nasal spray CORTICOSTEROIDS

Anti-inflammatory medications (corticosteroids) are available in many forms, including:

Creams and ointment for the skin Eye drops Nasal spray Lung inhaler Patients with severe allergic symptoms may be prescribed corticosteroid pills or injections for short periods of time.

DECONGESTANTS

Decongestants can help relieve a stuffy nose. Decongestant nasal spray should not be used for more than several days, because they can cause a "rebound" effect and make the congestion worse. Decongestants in pill form do not cause this problem.

OTHER MEDICINES

Leukotriene inhibitors are medicines that specifically block the substances that trigger allergies. Zafirlukast (Accolate) and montelukast (Singulair) are approved for those with asthma and indoor and outdoor allergies.

ALLERGY SHOTS

Allergy shots (immunotherapy) are occasionally recommended if the allergen cannot be avoided and symptoms are hard to control. Allergy shots keep your body from over-reacting to the allergen. Regular injections of the allergen are given, with each dose slightly larger than the previous dose until a maximum dose is reached. They do not work for everybody and require frequent doctor's visits.

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