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All About Allergies

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Did you know that according to the AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America) 30% of adults, and 40% of children have allergies ? An overall understanding of the various allergies is imperative when it comes to combating and coping with it.

What Causes Allergies?

Allergies occur when your immune system develops a reaction to an allergen. Symptoms could range from mild to severe, in some instances. Foreign substances or antigens are sometimes seen as harmful to your body’s natural immune system, and it reacts by producing an influx of antibodies.

For some reason, your immune system perceives certain harmless substances as a threat and starts to attack these substances. One common way your body does this is by producing histamines. These histamines are responsible for the allergy symptoms you experience.

There are a range of substances that can spark off an allergic reaction. Some of these include pet dander, penicillin, and the spring time challenge for many, pollen. If treated properly, the majority of allergies are not serious, with the exception of anaphylaxis. This severe allergic reaction can lower your blood pressure. You could also stop breathing, and would need to contact 911 for an emergency dose of epinephrine or adrenaline Be sure not to take antihistamines if you develop anaphylaxis, as this could worsen your condition.

Skin Allergies

Hives, or urticarial, is one of the most common skin allergies. Here you’ll develop an itchy inflamed rash with sores. Your skin may also become inflamed beneath the surface. Hives can occur on your eyes, lips, hands, feet, as well as your back. An insect sting, pet dander, stress, certain drugs, and extreme temperatures are often the cause here.

Other forms of skin allergies include dermatitis or eczema. With eczema, your skin will appear itchy, patchy and leathery. If you have mild atopic dermatitis, a skin barrier repair moisturizer should remove the flakiness. For more severe cases, and in instances where the eczema does not clear within 3 weeks, see your healthcare provider for oral or topical corticosteroids.

Food Allergies

The majority of these types of food allergies stems from eating products containing peanuts, egg whites, cow’s milk, soybeans, wheat, and tree nuts.

You may also develop an allergic reaction from eating shellfish, additives found in gum Arabic, corn, beans, and food comprising yellow food colorant or dye.

Developing an Allergic Reaction to Medication

Many people are allergic to penicillin and wear compulsory medical bracelets as a result. Practice caution if you have arthritis and are taking medication like Celebrex, which contains sulfa pharmaceuticals.

Some may also develop an allergic reaction to various types of antibiotics. It’s also advisable to practice caution when taking aspirin, as it’s an anti-coagulant which could cause problems if you have nasal polyps or asthma.

Respiratory Allergies

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is one of the most common forms of respiratory allergies. Here you may experience a runny nose, itchiness around the eyes and nose, constant sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and sometimes nasal congestion. This usually occurs at the onset of spring when pollen from grass and ragweed is released. Dust and animal dander may also cause respiratory allergies.

Other causes here are airborne spores which can cause a mold allergy. Be sure to remove all dampness indoors, especially in your bathroom, or if you’ve had leaks somewhere, as mold will thrive here.

Keep your home dust-free at all times if you suffer from allergies, as dust harbors dust mites, pollen and spores. Do practice extra caution if you have asthma, as an allergic reaction to dust, pollen and mold spores can trigger an attack.

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