Allergies refer to the hypersensitive reactions some people have to any number of substances such as mold, grasses, tree pollen, bee venom, lactose, peanuts, chemicals, viruses, medicines and literally hundreds of other allergens. Reactions are wide ranging and include sneezing, watering eyes, bronchial congestion and even shock. Narrowing the possible allergens down to the one(s) that a patient is sensitive to may require extensive testing - often a process of elimination. Treatment includes a number of general and very specific medications.
Immunology refers to the study and treatment of the immune system (which detects and repels pathogenic organisms such as viruses, bacteria and fungus) and the treatment of immune system deficiencies. The immune system involves complex interactions and is categorized into two responses: the humoral which involves B cells and the production of antibodies; and the cell-mediated which involves T cells and the activation of white blood cells which engulf and destroy pathogens. The organs mainly responsible for the body's immune response are the bone marrow, the thymus and the lymphoid tissue. The immune system can be weakened by causes such as poor diet, drugs, infection, disease and hereditary conditions, in which case the body's natural ability to fight disease can be compromised. Treatment focuses on rebuilding the system through nutritional supplement, medicines, and more aggressive treatments such as blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants.
The allergy/immunology specialists at RWMC are expert in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic and immune system problems.