Bergen Medical Associates has a team of over 50 board-certified doctors, nurses, and support staff in New Jersey. With a wide range of specializations, patients can receive comprehensive primary care, as well as specialty services such as immunology and allergy care. Learn more about the conditions treated by the practitioners at Bergen Medical Associates.
What Is an Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reaction is the immune system’s response to a foreign substance. When the body perceives something benign, such as pollen or food, as harmful, it responds by triggering the production of antibodies to protect the body. Allergic reactions typically cause symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach, or on the skin. For some people, allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma. Allergies are one of the most common chronic conditions worldwide.
Many different triggers can cause a patient to have an allergic reaction. The most common allergens include:
- Animal dander
- Insect stings
What Is Immunology?
Immunology is the branch of medicine that studies all aspects of the immune system, the set of innate and adaptive defenses that protect the body from infection. An immunologist is a specialized physician who diagnoses and treats diseases of the immune system, including allergies, asthma, and autoimmune conditions. An allergist is a type of immunologist.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Bergen Medical Associates’ Allergy and Immunology department specializes in the comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions, including:
- Anaphylaxis: This is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction often characterized by difficulty breathing and reduced blood pressure. Anaphylaxis can be triggered by food or an insect sting.
- Angioedema: This type of swelling occurs underneath the skin in response to an allergen.
- Asthma: This condition is caused by smoke, dust, or other triggers that cause inflammation, restricting a patient’s airways and making it difficult to breathe.
- Drug allergy: This adverse reaction to medication might include a rash, swelling, or itching. Common drug allergies include penicillin and sulfa.
- Eczema: Also known as atopic dermatitis, this is typically a dry and itchy skin rash.
- Eye allergy/conjunctivitis: This common reaction, often caused by seasonal allergies, makes a patient’s eyes water, burn, itch, or redden.
- Food allergy: Certain foods can trigger immune system reactions. Common food allergies include shellfish, nuts, and eggs.
- Generalized itching: Pruritus, or itchy skin, can be caused by an allergen or an underlying condition.
- Immunodeficiency: This refers to any condition that inhibits the body’s immune system from working properly. There are more than 300 types of immunodeficiency disorders.
- Latex allergy: This allergic reaction to the proteins in natural rubber latex can be mild, such as an itchy rash, or severe, such as anaphylaxis.
- Nasal allergy/hay fever: Typically, an allergic reaction to pollen, hay fever is characterized by watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing.
- Sinusitis: This is an inflammation of the cavities around the nasal passage, which can cause pain and congestion.
- Urticaria: This is the clinical term for hives, a raised rash that appears on the skin and may be red or itchy.
- Venom/insect allergy: This is an allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting, which can include pain, swelling, dizziness, and nausea.
Allergy and Immunology Providers
The Allergy and Immunology department at Bergen Medical Associates is led by Margaret Co, M.D. Dr. Co is a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. She completed her Residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and her Fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Cornell Campus. Before joining Bergen Medical Associates, Dr. Co worked in private practice in Ridgewood, NJ, for more than two decades. She is Board Certified in Allergy and Immunology and has been recognized as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor.
Dr. Co believes in the importance of patient education and working in partnership with patients to manage their conditions. With extensive experience and training, Dr. Co is equipped to manage allergies, asthma, and immunologic disorders, including primary immunodeficiency disorders. She sees both adult and pediatric patients. Her areas of expertise include:
- Allergic skin disorders
- Food allergies
- Immune therapies
Learn More About Bergen Medical Associates
As a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognized by the National Committee on Quality Assurance, Bergen Medical Associates is committed to offering comprehensive, state-of-the-art care. Patients throughout New Jersey can receive outstanding allergy and immunology services at one of Bergen Medical Associates’ multiple locations. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.