Allergies always abound in the spring and fall seasons for a lot of people. Others have to watch all year round where they go and when what they eat, and many must stay away from animals – or even people who are around them. There are many allergy triggers. Allergy treatments are available to give you a better quality of life – but they may not always be as effective as hoped.
The Cause of Allergies
The human body contains a defense system against things that it perceives might be a threat to it. Some irritants will cause your body to go into an overreaction. The Mayo Clinic says that this overreaction is caused by your body mistaking these irritants as being more of a threat than what they really are.
Several triggers affect a large number of people. They include:
- Food allergies
- Insect stings
- Animal dander
- Dust mites
- Mold and mildew.
The Symptoms of Allergies
The reaction to allergy triggers can appear in many forms ranging from mild to life-threatening. The symptoms of an allergic reaction that someone has will vary with the type of irritant. They may include:
- Itching in the eyes, nose, or mouth
- Watery eyes that may become red and swollen
- Tingling in the mouth
- Itchy skin
- Wheezing or asthma
Anaphylaxis is an extreme overreaction that can quickly lead to death without immediate medical help. It most commonly occurs from a food allergy or an insect bite. The affected individual may lose consciousness immediately, and an injection of epinephrine is needed ASAP. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), reveals that the symptoms of this severe reaction may include the following:
- A drop in blood pressure
- Extreme shortness of breath
- A hoarse voice
- A rash on the skin
- Cardiac arrest
- Abdominal pain
- A rapid but weak pulse
- A loss of consciousness.
An anaphylactic reaction may also have a secondary reaction, says Healthline. This can occur without being exposed to the allergen a second time. It is called a biphasic reaction, and although it usually occurs within 8 to 10 hours later, it can occur as much as 72 hours later. It may or may not be as severe as the initial reaction.
Developing New Allergies
People who have had allergies as a child, as well as those who did not, may develop new ones at any age. When exposed to an allergen that produces a reaction, your body may develop an antibody for it. The overproduction of antibodies is what brings on the allergic reaction. Over time, children can learn to avoid those triggers or may outgrow them.
When you are exposed to a new allergen, one that you have not been confronted with previously, it can produce a sudden onset of new allergies. This can occur at any age, says Ran Y. Rubinstein, allergy doctor of Hudson Valley, NY.
Boosting Your Immune System
Your immune system is what is behind the defense of your body against allergens and other threats. Keeping it healthy and strong is a good move to help your body stay healthy. Your immune system can be weakened by a lack of proper nutrition. People who do not eat well and do not get a balanced diet that includes essential vitamins and trace minerals are apt to suffer more from allergies says the Harvard Medical School. This can also include the elderly.
Keeping your immune system strong, which may reduce the symptoms of some allergies because of a stronger immune system, is important for better health. Other things that you can do include:
- Stop smoking
- Get regular exercise
- If you drink alcohol, only drink moderately
- Get sufficient sleep
- Avoid infections
- Reduce stress.
Get Tested for Allergies
Everyone’s body is different and will react differently. If you find that your allergies are not under control, or that you have new allergies, you may need medical assistance to determine the allergens, as well as find some help in controlling them. Diagnostic tests for allergies will include skin tests and blood tests.
Treatment for known allergies must always start using a simple avoidance of the allergen – as much as possible. Once you (or the doctor) have identified the allergens, it is a good idea to stay away from them. Medications such as antihistamines may help to avoid mild to moderate reactions.
Immunotherapy involves a series of allergy shots for those allergens that medications do not sufficiently control. It requires injecting tiny amounts of the allergen into your body so that antibodies may be developed. The injections need to be given once each week for about a year, and then slowly after that – possibly every two weeks. In the following year, injections are given every three weeks, and even less often in the fourth year. They may also be given at a faster rate of two times a week initially. Know about migraine vs headache as it can anyone’s life due to save ache.
This system of injections is the most effective system developed for allergy sufferers so far. It is effective because it changes your immune system. Once that occurs, it may prevent you from getting new allergies and asthmatic reactions. After this treatment has been completed, 80 percent of allergy sufferers find that they do not need to have further injections after the third year.
Another type of immunotherapy is called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). This method does not involve getting injections. Patients are given tablets instead. Because the tablets are not as strong as the injections, it is not capable of providing preventive action against new allergies or asthma, says the AAAAI.
About Food Allergies
Although food allergies can cause just as serious allergic reactions as other allergens, immunotherapy for this type of allergy is not yet recommended. The best thing to do is to practice avoidance of those food triggers as much as possible.
If you suffer from chronic allergy symptoms, you can start to have a better quality of life by getting tested for your allergies. This will enable you to know and avoid the triggers. Treatments can further decrease your allergic reactions and enable you to live a more normal life – one that you can enjoy.