Table of Contents
Section 1: All About Allergies And How They Affect The Human Body
Section 2: Different Forms Of Allergies
Section 3: Allergy Relief
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Do You Have An Allergy?
Do you think that you may be suffering from allergies? The good news is that there are a number of approaches you can take to help determine if you do suffer from an allergy problem.
Perhaps, the easiest way to confirm that your symptoms are the result of an allergic reaction is by seeking the advice of a medical professional. Your medical professional – doctor or nurse practitioner- can help you with both holistic ways of reducing your allergic reactions and can prescribe medications that can also help. Natural ways of reducing symptoms can help you eliminate the need for medications, reduce your costs and reduce any side effects you can experience from prescription medications.
Before prescribing a particular medication or natural means of dealing with your allergies, you will first undergo a thorough physical examination and testing to rule out other possible medical conditions that may be causing the symptoms. The symptoms you experience are a good indication of where your allergies are originating.
Although some allergies do have different signs and symptoms, you will find that many are similar. These symptoms may include hives, a runny nose, sneezing, chest congestion, and a postnasal drip. Those who suffer from food allergies may experience a loss of consciousness or problems breathing. If you experience these symptoms, medical attention must be sought immediately. As for pet allergies, the above mentioned symptoms are often experienced, but some individuals may develop skin rashes where their pets brush up against their skin. These rashes are called contact dermatitis.
Food allergies are known to cause the most severe allergic reactions, especially peanut allergies and wheat allergies. If you suspect that you suffer from either of these two food allergies, it is important to stop eating wheat or peanut products immediately and seek medical attention. On the other, hand if you are dealing with seasonal allergies, allergies due to pet dander, or mold and mildew allergies, you may be able to treat your symptoms naturally.
A healthcare professional may recommend a number of different steps you can take to help identify the offending protein allergen at home. For instance, if you believe that you suffer from pet allergies you may remove the cat (the most common pet allergen) from the home or keep your pet in a single room for several days or a week to determine if your symptoms resolve. If your symptoms disappear it is highly likely that you are reacting to the dander from your pet. Dogs and cats are the most common pets that produce allergic reactions.
If you have allergies that you believe are from foods that you are eating you may try an elimination diet. You should not use this if you have reactions that include hives or you have had a reaction that required medical care in the past.
In an elimination diet you take out all foods that you believe might be causing your gastric distress. Foods that include dairy products, wheat or certain chemical additives can cause allergic reactions. Once you have stopped eating those foods and have been symptom free for several weeks, you can slowly add some of those foods back into your diet.
Some people find that they can eat small amounts of the foods that caused them distress without having symptoms and others find that they cannot eat any of the foods without experiencing symptoms.
Common Allergens In People
Some of the most common sources of protein allergens are food, especially shellfish, peanuts and wheat. Other sources that are not foods include bees, mosquitoes, chemicals, perfumes, makeup, over-the-counter medication, and antibiotics.
Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions. They are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
Some of these allergens may be outgrown, but others, such as peanut and shellfish, will remain lifelong allergies. Substitute foods are almost always available. Other common food offenders are chocolate, pork, and berries. An individual may be allergic to the gluten in wheat, rye, and oats, and products made from those grains.
Allergens that affect the respiratory tract, bringing on sneezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing, are pollens, dust, smoke, perfumes, and various airborne chemicals.
A person also can become allergic to specific types of mold by inhaling the spores consistently. In the nose, the mold spores trigger a reaction in cells of the tissues beneath the mucous membranes that line the nasal passages. This results in the symptoms of an allergy. Because they are small, mold spores can evade the natural protective mechanisms of the nose and upper respiratory tract and reach the lungs. Here they bring on an allergic reaction in these tissues that resemble asthma.
Less frequently, inhaling mold spores can result in skin lesions similar to those of eczema or chronic hives. In all but the very warmest areas of the United States, molds are seasonal allergens, occurring from spring into late fall. But unlike pollens, molds do not disappear with the killing frosts of autumn. Actually, frost may help increase the activity of molds, which thrive on dying vegetation produced by cold temperatures.
House dust and animal hair (especially cat and dog hair) are also responsible for respiratory allergies in many people. Dust allergies are usually the result of reactions to the proteins of dust mites, minute arthropods that live in the dust and thrive off of dead skin cells, and not really from simple dust. Asthma attacks are often triggered by contact with pet dander and dust mite feces or body parts. Symptoms of dust allergy are usually most severe in the spring and fall, and tend to subside in the summer when air conditioners bring down the humidity level in the homes. Mites are unable to drink water and must get fluids by absorbing them from the air. When the humidity level is low they begin to die off and reduce the population in the environment.
Exposure to man-made chemicals can also cause allergic reactions. An example of respiratory allergy caused by man-made allergens is “meat wrappers’ asthma”. This reaction results from fumes of the price-label adhesive on the poly-vinyl chloride film used to package foods. The fumes are produced when the price label is cut on a hot wire. When the fumes are inhaled, the result is burning eyes, sore throat, wheezing and shortness of breath, upset stomach, and other complaints. Studies have shown that exposure to these fumes for as little as five minutes have produced airway obstruction in food packagers.
Another source of respiratory allergy is the photochemical smog produced by motor vehicle exhaust in large cities. Smog is composed of oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons, and other chemicals activated by the energy of sunlight. When inhaled the smog has been found to impair the normal function of membranes in the lungs.
Medicines and drugs, such as penicillin can cause allergic reactions. Estimates of the incidence of allergy among those receiving penicillin range from one to ten percent. The National Institutes of Health has calculated that just three common drugs—penicillin, sulfonamides, and aspirin—account for as much as 90 percent of all allergic drug reactions.
Allergic reactions to medications, drugs and inoculations include asthmatic symptoms, skin rash, shock, and other symptoms. Scientists theorize that chemicals in certain drugs probably combine with protein molecules in the patient’s body to form a new substance that is the true allergen.
Insect stings cause serious allergic reactions in about four of every 1,000 persons stung by bees, fire ants, yellow jackets, wasps, or hornets. A single sting to a sensitive person may lead to an anaphylactic response characterized by a serious drop in blood pressure, shock, and possibly death. There are more than 50 reported fatalities each year, and experts suspect that other deaths occur as a result of insect stings but are listed as heart attacks, stroke, or convulsions.
Recently physicians have found that using pure insect venom produces a reaction that determines whether a person is allergic to the sting. Scientists also have isolated the major allergen in insect venom for use in diagnosing and treating patients who are particularly sensitive to stings. These advances have led to an increasing ability to test for allergies to insect venom.Other Details
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