Allergies are our body’s immune response to various substances.
Allergies have various effects in one person to another. Most of the time people see allergies as something “nothing-to-worry-about” or just a normal occurrence that will pass on it’s own. Yes, there are times that mild allergies just come and go especially during the sudden changes in the weather, but what are the red flags and say, ‘it’s time to check in with your doctor’. Find out what triggers your allergy, what are the symptoms, what are the treatments and how do we prevent it?
Allergies are our body’s immune response to various substances. Those substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. Allergies range from mild to severe ––severe allergies can cause a more serious condition known as anaphylaxis.
What trigger your allergies?
- The most common trigger is pollen. Usually come from trees, weeds and grasses. These plants make small, light and dry pollen grains that travel by the wind.
- Dust mites. Invisible in the naked eye, this trigger is similar to pollen allergies, the main difference is that it can happen anytime and not during certain seasons.
- Like pollen, it travels in the air. Commonly develops in damp areas.
- Dander or the flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs and birds.
- Insect sting from bees, fire ants, hornets and wasps.
- It might be in the form of a suit or other items that contain latex, which comes in contact with your body.
- People have various food allergies; the common ones include nuts, milk, soybeans, wheat and seafood.
- Medical drugs. Common drugs which trigger reaction to some patients include penicillin and aspirin.
What are the symptoms of allergies?
Mild allergic reactions include the following:
- Sneezing, runny or blocked nose, which is commonly known as allergic rhinitis.
- Itchy and watery eyes, known as conjunctivitis.
- Shortness of breath, rashes and itchy skin, known as hives.
- Vomiting or diarrhea.
Severe allergic reactions include the following:
- Swelling of the throat to the mouth.
- Breathing becomes difficult
- Light headedness and dizziness.
- Blue skin and lips
- Losing consciousness
For those who have severe allergic reactions, it is important to consult your doctor as soon as possible. Anaphylaxis can be life threatening and should be addressed immediately and with caution.
How do you treat your allergic reactions?
- For mild allergies caused by allergens, over the counter medicines will suffice. Antihistamines can prevent symptoms to progress further or can stop the reactions. Decongestants can clear your nose for pollen allergies. Medicines for allergies come in different forms such as tablets, nasal spray and eye drops. Some of these medications can cause drowsiness.
- For food allergies, over the counter medicines can also temper the reaction.
- For plant or bite allergies. Avoid touching the affected area, clean it with soap and water and take a cool bath. You may apply calamine or anti itching cream. Natural products such as oatmeal can be used to soothe inflamed areas. If the affected area doesn’t improve consult your doctor immediately.
- Sting allergies. Remove the stinger with a straight edge object, do not force to remove the stinger because it may release more venom. Wash the affected area with soap and water and apply antiseptic. Apply hydrocortisone cream and cover it with a bandage. If the area is swelling apply cold compress and take antihistamine or aspirin as needed.
How can you prevent allergic reactions?
- Identify the source of your allergic reaction.
- For food allergies, always check the ingredients in your food consumption.
- Be extra cautious in your surroundings.
- Always have your medicines on hand.
Most of the time allergies are unpredictable ––be prepared and never take anything for granted. It is best to see your doctor for diagnostics and treatment options.