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Allergy and Asthma

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Allergy, Asthma and related conditions affect 60 million Americans. At United Hospital District, Dr. Matthew Patterson is a multi-board certified Asthma and Allergy specialist who diagnoses and treats a wide array of allergy conditions, including:

  • Environmental allergies
  • Nasal allergies
  • Respiratory allergies
  • Skin allergies
  • Skin rashes, such as eczema

What are Allergies?

Allergies are reactions triggered by your immune system as it mistakes normal, everyday substances for a dangerous intruder in your body. Your body responds by attacking the intruder, or allergen. This type of response produces histamines, which create allergy symptoms. Allergies range from mild to severe and can produce minor irritation or result in anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening condition. People are allergic to a variety of materials (allergens) including:

  • Food: Eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy and wheat
  • Pollen, animal dander, dust mites and mold
  • Insect stings: Bees and wasps
  • Medicines: Penicillin and penicillin-based antibiotics

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a long-term lung disease that can cause episodes of coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. It affects people of all ages. Symptoms can be mild or severe, or even life-threatening. Possible causes of asthma include:

  • Family history of asthma or allergies
  • Maternal smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke or air pollution during pregnancy
  • Early childhood exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution or indoor allergens such as dust mites, cockroaches or allergies
  • Damage to developing lungs due to premature birth or early childhood respiratory illnesses
  • For adults, exposure to chemical irritants or industrial dust in the workplace

Like all chronic diseases, asthma cannot be cured but, in most cases, is very manageable.

Appointments with Dr. Patterson are available in our Blue Earth Clinic by calling 507-526-7388.