Every time you cuddle up with your cat your eyes grow red and itchy. Whenever you walk through a park you begin to wheeze and cough. Each night as you try to fall sleep your nose begin to get stuffy and your head aches. There are countless reasons why allergy sufferers get their symptoms, but there are also ways to stop them dead in their tracks. If you are one of the millions of Americans suffering from allergies, it may be time to pay a walk-in clinic a visit. Here are a few questions and answers to help lead you in the right direction:

What is an Allergy?

Very simply stated it is your body reacting to something you have inhaled, ateen or touched.

What should I look for?

Allergy symptoms run the gamut from merely annoying to life threatening. They include itchy eyes, nasal congestion, cough or wheezing, hives, dirrhea or constipation with cramps, and swelling. A walk-in clinic has probably seen every type of symptom including anaphylaxis. This is the most serious allergy reaction, it is when an allergen affects many parts of the body at once.

What causes these symptoms?

The unforgretably awful dust mites (trust us you do not want to see one of these creatures through a microscope!), Dander from a pet (not their hair as is widely believed), many types of molds, grass and weed pollen, and we're sorry to break this news to you) cockroach body parts and excrement. A qualified walk-in clinic can safely and affordably treat all these types of allergies.

A hospital emergency room is recommended for more serious reactions. These would include: the rings of bees, wasps, or yellow jackets, as well as any other stinging insect. Certain foods, commonly peanuts or shellfish, and certain medicines (these depend on the person).

What types of tests are there?

There are several different tests available affordably at your neighborhood or town's walk-in clinic. These include skin tests, challenge tests, and blood tests. Only a board-certified doctor will be able to say which will be best for you.

The skin test is the most common of the tests administered. It is reliably painless and includes very tiny skin pricks. By measuring the responses at the prick sites a doctor will be able to diagnose allergies.

The challenge test is when a very small amount of the allergen is inhaled or swallowed. This test is usually done for potential food or medicine allergies.

The blood test is done when skin testing is out of the question because of existing dermatological issues or if you are on certain medicines that may interfere with the results.It is important to be tested by a professional and you may find a qualified one at any well respected walk-in clinic.