Many people at one time or another have experienced allergies. Allergies can occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign body and identifies it as harmful, even if it isn’t. When this occurs, the body produces antibodies, and the reaction of these antibodies can cause inflammation in your skin, sinuses, digestive system, or airway passages. Among some common allergens are pollen, bees, pet dander and foods.
Allergic reactions range from mild sinus congestion to potential life-threatening anaphylaxis reactions.
Allergies are usually detected in their mild forms through trial and error, and you can develop an allergy at any age.
There is also a wide variety of symptoms that go along with allergies.
- Runny, stuffy nose
- Watery, swollen, or red eyes
- Itchy eyes, mouth, or nose
- Itchy nose, mouth, eyes
- Post-nasal drip
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Watery, swollen, red eyes
Insect Bites or Stings
- Itching or hives on body
- Swelling at the bite/sting site
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Itching skin
Atopic Dermatitis Also Known as Eczema
- Itching skin
- Flaking or peeling skin
What Causes Allergies?
When your immune system mistakes a substance as a dangerous invader it produces antibodies for that substance. When your system detects that allergen again it produces several chemicals including histamine. These chemicals are what causes the allergic reactions.
Common triggers for allergic reactions include:
- Insect bites and stings such as bees and spiders
- Medications such as penicillin
- Foods such as peanuts, wheat, tree nuts, shellfish, milk, and eggs
- Airborne substances such as pollen, animal dander and mold
Sometimes it’s hard to detect the cause of allergic reactions without seeing a medical professional. Never leave it to chance if you suspect you have an allergy. Seeking medical advice early on could prevent a serious reaction in the future. If you have difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Risk Factors for Allergies
Even though anyone can develop an allergy at any time in life, there are certain risk factors to be aware of. Family history of asthma or allergies might make you more susceptible to allergies yourself as well as having asthma or other allergic conditions yourself.
If you have sinus allergies, you could run the risk of other complications if symptoms go unchecked. These include sinusitis, ear, and lung infections.
There are measures you can take however to lessen mild symptoms of allergies.
Keep a diary. When you suspect allergic reactions write down your symptoms, what you ate around the time of the reaction, what season it is or any activities you just participated in. This diary can be helpful when you see your doctor.
Avoid the known triggers. If you know you have symptoms when pollen counts are high, avoid opening windows, taking off shoes after coming indoors to keep from tracking pollen onto rugs, and vacuum often. If you discover you are allergic to a pet, have a family member groom them often and see if a pet dander wipe or spray might help alleviate symptoms.
If you suspect a food is causing your reactions, do some research into foods that are similar and start reading labels to stay away from those types of foods and ingredients.
You can also use non-latex gloves and scent free detergents and soaps.Living with mild allergies can be a pain, but with a bit of precaution you can keep reactions to a minimum.