An allergy is a misguided reaction to foreign substances by the immune system, the body’s system of defense against foreign objects that are not always harmful. These foreign substances called allergens include certain foods, pollen, or pet dander. Over 50% of people suffer from allergies. It affects 10% to 30% of adults in the U.S.
The symptoms of allergies that an individual experiences are caused by several factors. It depends on the substance involved and can affect various parts of the body. They can also trigger life-threatening reactions like anaphylaxis.
- For food allergies
- Swollen lips, face, tongue, and throat
- Hives, itching, or eczema
- Nausea and dizziness
- For seasonal allergies
- Ear congestion
- Runny nose or stuffy nose
- Swollen and itchy eyes
- Postnasal drainage
- Constant sneezing
- For severe allergies
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of consciousness
- Swollen lips, tongue, and eyes
- Abdominal pain
- Breathing difficulties and coughing
- For skin allergies
- Contact dermatitis
- Sore throat
- Swollen eyes
- Itching sensation
- Inflammation in the skin
- For drug allergies
- An itchy sensation on the skin
- Swelling around the face
- Red rashes
Causes of allergies
An allergic reaction takes place when the immune system of a person reacts to a foreign substance. This immune system will then produce antibodies that identify allergens and combat them. This causes symptoms like skin inflammation, breathlessness, digestive problems, etc.
Common allergy triggers include:
- Airborne allergens: Animal dander, dust mites, mold, and pollen
- Particular food items: Peanuts, eggs, soy, tree nuts, milk, wheat, and fish
- Medications: Penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics
- Other substances that one can touch: Latex
The severity of allergies can range from minor to major and fatal reactions depending on the individual. Treatments can relieve some if not all allergy symptoms.
Treatment for allergy
The best way to prevent allergies is to avoid triggers that cause allergic reactions. However, treatment options are available if you do come in contact with the triggers.
Medication often includes antihistamines like Diphenhydramine along with other drugs to control the symptoms:
- Decongestants (Afrin)
- Loratadine (Claritin)
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- Leukotriene modifiers (Zyflo)
- Cromolyn sodium (Gastrocrom)
This method involves several injections over a few years to help the body get used to the allergy. This can prevent symptoms from returning.
It is always safe to carry an emergency epinephrine shot in case of a life-threatening allergy. This shot counters the allergic reaction until medical care is provided.
Some natural remedies to effectively prevent allergies include:
- Using eucalyptus oil as an anti-microbial agent during allergy season by regularly adding it to your washing load
- A cool, wet cloth to the area affected by hives can relieve mild symptoms.
- Aloe vera gel, calendula cream, and warm water can control mild skin allergies.
- Breathing steam from a hot water bowl can relieve nasal allergies.
Diagnosis for allergies
The doctor may ask various questions about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. For instance, he may ask you if you had put on latex gloves in case of rashes on the hands. Later, a blood and skin test will confirm the presence of the suspected allergens.
If you are facing allergy issues or you have any queries related to it, visit us at 8 to 8 Urgent Care Clinic. We are a renowned walk-in clinic based in Oceanside, CA.