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What are Allergies?

Allergies are your body's reaction to a foreign protein, called allergens. Common allergens include foods, medications, pollen, and insect bites. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn't.

Common Allergy Symptoms

Different allergens create different symptoms, and can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms may include:

  • Inflamed (swollen) sinuses
  • Congestion
  • Red and itchy skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Digestive problems

UR Medicine's Treatments for Allergies

Diagnosing Allergies

Your primary care provider can start the process of diagnosing allergies. On-demand video visits are also available to begin the diagnoses process. Before referring you to Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology or Otolaryngology, your provider will: 

  • Ask detailed questions about signs and symptoms
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Ask you to keep a detailed diary of symptoms and possible triggers

Your provider might also recommend one or both of the following tests:

  • Skin test: Your provider will prick your skin with small amounts of the proteins found in common allergens and observe your reactions.
  • Blood test: A blood sample is sent to a laboratory and tested for evidence of sensitivity to possible allergens.

If asthma is suspected, breathing tests will be used to check how the lungs are working.

Treating Allergies

Allergy treatments include:

  • Allergen avoidance: Your provider will help you take steps to identify and avoid your allergy triggers.
  • Medications: Medications can help reduce your immune system reaction and ease symptoms. This could be non-prescription or prescription medication in the form of pills, liquid, nasal sprays, or eye drops.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment involves a series of injections of purified allergen extracts, usually given over a few years. This is done in a doctor’s office under careful monitoring.
  • Emergency epinephrine: If you have a severe allergy, you should always carry an emergency epinephrine shot.

Learn about food allergies in children

What Sets Us Apart?

Complete Care for Allergies and Asthma

At UR Medicine Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology (AIR), we treat all types of allergies, including drug allergies, food allergies, bee stings, and environmental allergies. We also provide comprehensive care for allergy-induced asthma.

UR Medicine Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialists are trained to diagnose and treat allergies and disorders of the upper respiratory system, such as allergic rhinitis, allergic ear diseases, nasal polyps and sinusitis.

The AIR and ENT teams are committed to providing you with the very best care possible—care that is centered around you and your needs, helping your symptoms and keeping you healthy.

We have multiple clinics located throughout the Rochester community to allow you to receive expert care close to home. We offer exceptional personalized care, including allergy shots and treatments that are available right in our clinics.

Our AIR and ENT experts are dedicated to finding innovative treatments for patients. The AIR Division is a member of the NIH Accelerated Medicines Partnership and is a World Allergy Organization Center of Excellence.


Our care team is here for you. Find a UR Medicine expert and get care now.

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We serve you in the Rochester metropolitan area and surrounding region.

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8 locations

Allergy, Immunology, & Rheumatology - Rochester

Lattimore Medical Center
125 Lattimore Road, Suite G-110
Rochester, NY 14620

Allergy & Immunology - Brockport

Strong West
156 West Avenue, 3rd Floor
Brockport, NY 14420

Allergy & Immunology - Batavia

7995 Call Parkway, Suite 100
Batavia, NY 14020

Allergy & Immunology - Greece

Canal Landing Professional Park
99 Canal Landing Boulevard, Suite 7
Rochester, NY 14626

Allergy & Immunology - Henrietta

Red Creek (Calkins Corporate Park)
400 Red Creek Drive, Suite 220
Rochester, NY 14623

Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology - Canandaigua

Thompson Professional Building
395 West Street, Suite 007
Canandaigua, NY 14424

Ear, Nose, & Throat - Geneva

64 Elizabeth Blackwell Street, Suite A
Geneva, NY 14456

Ear, Nose, & Throat - Brighton

Clinton Woods
2365 South Clinton Avenue, Suite 200
Rochester, NY 14618

Patient Education & Support

If you have questions about your illness or medications, ask your doctor. You may also find these websites helpful:

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