Allergies – Causes, signs, and management

Allergies – Causes, signs, and management

Normally, the immune system, which is the defense system of our body, fights allergies and infections. An allergy is the altered body reactivity to an allergen. People who have allergies are more sensitive than others. About 50 million people in the country are affected by allergies every year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Causes of allergies
There are many types of allergies that can be caused by environmental factors, food and other substances. Airborne allergens are pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold or fungi. Some people are allergic to food items such as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, and milk. Some insect stings such as those from bees or wraps can also cause allergic reactions. Some medicines could also result in an allergic reaction. These include penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics. Some other substances such as latex when touched can give you an allergy.

Signs of an allergy
The symptoms of an allergy are runny nose or stuffy nose, sneezing, and itching of the nose. Some other symptoms may include pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms are cough, chest tightness, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

Sometimes allergies can trigger a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include loss of consciousness, drop in blood pressure, severe shortness of breath, skin rash, light-headedness, rapid, weak pulse, nausea, and vomiting.

The allergic reaction known as rhinitis or hay fever causes sneezing, itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth and watery, red or swollen eyes. A food allergy can cause tingling in the mouth, swelling of the lip, tongue, face or throat, hives, and anaphylaxis.

A reaction to an insect sting could result in swelling, itching or hives all over the body, cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis.

An allergy to medicinal prescription causes hives, itchy skin, rash, facial swelling, wheezing, and anaphylaxis.

Ways to manage allergies

Common menthods available to manage allergies include OTC decongestants and antihistamines, such as cetirizine and combination medications containing acetaminophen, diphenhydramine, and phenylephrine. Prescription medications, such as steroid nasal sprays, can be given. The doctor may also prescribe allergy shots.

Home remedies for allergies

Neti pot
It is easy to use, and one only needs saline water. It helps in rinsing the nasal cavity and in flushing out the allergens.

Inhaling steam with the help of store-bought vaporizers can flush out the mucus and moisten the dry nasal passage.

Saline nasal irrigation
Saline nasal irrigation is beneficial to both children and adults in case of allergic rhinitis or hay fever.

Air filters
One can use air filters. One type of air filter to consider is the high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA). Filters reduce allergens by trapping airborne irritants such as pollen, dust, and pet dander.

Acupuncture is said to be quite effective for seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis.

Probiotics can help to soothe the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Air conditioners and dehumidifiers
By removing the moisture from the air, air conditioners and dehumidifiers can limit the growth of mildew and mold that can trigger allergies.

Spirulina, a blue-green algae, has anti-allergic effects and can be used for allergic rhinitis.

Stinging nettle
Stinging nettle is used as a natural antihistamine to help with allergy management.

Quercetin is naturally found in broccoli, cauliflower, green tea, and citrus fruits and is known to stabilize the release of histamines and help to control allergy symptoms.

Vitamin C
Taking vitamin C daily is known to reduce histamine levels.

Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil treatment has anti-inflammatory effects that reduce the symptoms of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus oil is an antimicrobial agent which can be used for washing clothes during allergy season, which can reduce the chances for allergies.

People with allergies should take care of themselves. Wearing an alert bracelet or necklace to let others know if one has serious allergies could be beneficial.