Allergies can be quite obnoxious to deal with at times, and on very rare and unfortunate occasions, can prove fatal. More people today deal with them than what you might think. As many as 50 million Americans experience some type of allergic reaction every year. Whether it’s a food or seasonal allergy, there are ways that you can better manage them. Here’s more about allergies and what you need to know about them. In case you missed my post on 35 OTC Medications You Should Store
Allergies: What You Need to Know
An allergic reaction takes place when our immune system becomes hypersensitive to a particular substance, including food, medications, bee venom, pollen, and other sources. These are known as allergens, which don’t tend to bother most people but only to specific people whose immune systems react to it.
It’s not too common to be affected by a particular substance the first time that you’re exposed to it. Over time, our immune systems will begin to recognize the allergen and will develop sensitivity towards it. There are also allergies that are seasonal, especially in the spring when the pollen count is at its highest.
You may want to look at buying some local raw unfiltered honey to help alleviate some of your allergy symptoms. A tablespoon a day will “expose” you to your local allergens in small enough dosages so that your body may develop an effective response.
Difference Between Allergies and Intolerance
Some people often get confused and incorrectly diagnose their body’s response to a particular substance, believing it to be an allergy. Food intolerance does not have anything to do with IgE antibodies as allergies do. Food allergies happen when our bodies target a particular protein as harmful, while a food intolerance can be triggered by carbohydrates, chemicals, or from a lack of enzymes. Here’s a quick look at a few that often get confused as a food allergy.
There’s a long and never-ending list of allergens that affect certain people. Here’s a brief look at a few of the most common ones that affect some people.
- Peanuts and tree nuts
Other Types of Allergies
- Penicillin and other medications
- Household cleaning chemicals
- Metal allergies (metals such as nickel, cobalt, zinc, and chromium)
- Mildew and mold
- Pet fur, dander, and saliva
- Insect bites or stings
- Cockroaches, moths, and caddisflies
What are the Symptoms?
Depending upon the allergen, these are some of the symptoms that you may come across that are clear indicators that you may be allergic to that particular substance. Here’s a closer look at the more common ones.
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Swollen tongue
- Noticeable swelling in the face, mouth, or throat
- Stomach cramps
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing
- Rectal bleeding (more common with children)
Pollen and Dust Allergies
- Watery, Itchy, and swollen eyes
- Itchy or runny nose
- Congestion in your nose
- Swelling in the face, tongue, or lips
- A rash is likely to form along with itchiness
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing
Insect Bite and Sting Allergies
- Difficulty breathing and wheezing
- Substantial swelling in the region where the sting occurred
- Itchy skin
- Hives begin to spread across the body
- A quick drop in blood pressure
The most severe form of an allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. It’s certainly a medical emergency that could prove life-threatening if left untreated. It can develop within minutes, or a few hours later after being exposed to a particular allergen. Being aware of these symptoms can be critical so that the patient can get the treatment he or she needs in time.
- Difficulty breathing
- Hive, itchiness, or flushing may take place
- Faint or dizzy feeling
- A rapid change in heart rate
- May slip out of consciousness
Who’s at a Greater Risk for Allergies?
Allergies can be passed down through our genes from our parents. If a parent has a certain allergy, this can substantially increase the risk for their son or daughter to have that same allergy. People who have asthma are also at a greater risk of developing a food allergy. Children who are born by cesarean section, introduced to certain foods late, or given antibiotics during their first year are also more likely to develop some sort of allergy.
Eliminating Food from your Diet
It’s one thing if you have a peanut allergy and can simply remove peanuts from your diet, but if you’re allergic to a food that’s an important part of your diet (like milk and protein), you’ll want to speak with a dietitian. You’ll need to find another food source or supplement to get the important nutrients that your body needs.
Not only are some people allergic when eating particular foods, but even touching or breathing it can cause a reaction to take place. That’s why it’s so important that people with food allergies pay close attention to food products, and even adhesives that may have traces of the allergen.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies, but you can manage the symptoms. For starters, it’s important to avoid the allergen, if possible. If it’s your child that has a food allergy, it’s also important to instruct the care provider for them as well.
Nasal spray and eye drops can also help calm the symptoms of some allergies. Most of the remedies can be found at your local drug store, even without a prescription. For more serious cases that are unrelated to food allergies, allergy shots (immunotherapy) can also be helpful.
Medication for Mild to Severe Symptoms
Epinephrine (adrenaline) is for people that may experience a severe food allergy. It works to keep the blood pressure up while keeping your airways open. People who have food allergies should always keep an auto-injector of epinephrine with them.
Antihistamines come in a number of different forms, including a liquid, gel, or tablet form. (Benadryl) An antihistamine is a chemical that blocks the symptoms of several types of allergies. It works best on patients who have mild to moderate allergies. Children’s Benadryl
If you’re someone that has to deal with allergies on a regular basis, you know that the symptoms can be obnoxious, and very unpleasant, but they can be manageable. Are you someone who has to deal with food, seasonal, or other types of allergies?
What have you found that helps you cope with its symptoms? Is there anything else you’d add to this guide about allergies: everything you need to know? Please keep prepping, we must. May God bless this world, Linda
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