When our immune system tries to combat a foreign substance or anything it recognizes as a threat, the reaction it produces is called an allergy. Although unharmful, some substances are recognized as dangerous and our bodies instantly react to them. The reactions range from non-existent to mild all the way to the most dramatic ones. Some people find it hard to breathe after eating peanuts while others consume it on a daily basis without a single reaction.
It is usually easy to recognize an allergy. The most frequent allergens include pollen, bee venom, eggs, milk, or peanuts. Once in your organism, these allergens trick your body into believing they are dangerous and hence, you may find yourself sneezing, coughing, itching or, in more severe cases, vomiting or suffocating. These reactions depend on the intensity of the substance in your body and the way you are exposed to it. Allergic reaction to pollen might manifest through a runny nose or watery eyes while food allergies may result in swelling of the lips, throat or eyes.
Treatment of allergies may depend on their type and while some of them may be treated at home, some require that you consult a doctor.
Types of allergy and their treatment
- Seasonal allergy (hay fever) occurs when tiny pollen or mold particles disperse during certain times of the year. Once they reach your nostrils, eyes, or skin, you may experience an itchy nose, watery eyes, perpetual sneezing or coughing.
It is best to avoid potential exposure to them but we all know that can be impossible since allergens are air-borne and there is no way to avoid them. You may try to reduce the exposure to a bare minimum and if this doesn’t help, over-the-counter medications usually do. In other cases, when symptoms become unbearable and life-threatening, it is necessary to contact the doctor immediately.
Medications for seasonal allergies include nasal and oral corticosteroids, antihistamines, or decongestants. Immunotherapy is also recommended as a viable solution. It reduces the chances of developing more severe symptoms by injecting small doses of allergens into your bloodstream during a period of time. Thus, your body gradually becomes accustomed to allergens and keeps dramatic reactions at bay.
- Food allergy is prevented through avoiding the consumption of allergenic food. In case you don’t know if you are allergic and start to develop a reaction, shots of epinephrine are usually used to stop further complications. You can always learn how to give yourself epinephrine shot in case there is no emergency room nearby. Rash, stomach pain, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or dizziness are only some of the symptoms.
- Drug allergy is yet another common health problem. Regardless of the form of the drug, reactions may vary from sneezing, itching or coughing to a life-threatening anaphylactic shock. In such cases, the symptoms develop at a high speed and they include swelling, vomiting, hives, fever, and occasionally, one symptom can accompany another. Anaphylaxis may result in a fatal outcome and medical care must be provided without delay.