The Lowdown on Allergies

allergiesWhat is an Allergy?

An allergy is a reaction that occurs within the body to a common food or substance that is usually harmless to the vast majority of people. The substances that cause this reaction are called allergens and they may be inhaled, swallowed, or come into contact with the skin.

The Most Common Allergens

The most common allergens that cause reactions in people are pollens, mold spores, house dust, dust mites, environmental conditions, such as cold and hot temperatures, medications, viruses, bacteria, latex, insect spores, animal hair, foods and insect bites and stings. These all may be a lot more common than you might think.

Why Are Some People Allergic?

It’s not known entirely why some people are allergic and some people are not allergic. Allergies do run in families, but a whole host of environmental factors, such as whether you are breast-fed or bottle-fed or the things that you are introduced to as a young child can also affect whether you’re going to become allergic or not later on in life.

There are also a number of allergic diseases, including rhinitis, which is more commonly known as hay fever. A huge number of people suffer with hay fever in some form or another over the year, although it affects some people far more than it affects others. You can be allergic to one pollen and not allergic to another, which is why some people are affected when surrounded by flowers whilst others are not.

Another common allergic disease is eczema, which affects a huge amount of people.

Allergy Treatments

There are a number of avoidance tactics that you can use to help with your allergic reactions. The best thing that you can do is to remove the allergen – so if you have a cat that you’re allergic to, unfortunately, you should give the cat to a new home. If you have problems with dust mites, get in specialist teams to clean your mattress or buy a new one. Wash all bedding on a hot wash at least once a week. Keep away from things that you know are triggers and seek alternatives instead. If you’re allergic to things like aspirin or penicillin, make sure to have that information written down somewhere important in case you ever go to hospital – the doctors will know not to treat you with those drugs.

You should always read food labels, and understand them. For example, even if an item doesn’t contain nuts but was made in an area where nuts are used, it may not be suitable for those with extreme nut allergies.

If you’re allergic to pollens and plants, move all plants outside and make sure to avoid going outdoors in the early morning as this is when the pollen count is at its highest. If you can’t avoid going outdoors, take a medication before you leave the house – there are plenty available both on prescription and over the county at drug stores. I recommend Piriton, Clarityn and Benadryl. Take them before you go out and keep them with you through the day for any flare-ups. There are also cheaper options available, so ask your pharmacist for medicines that contain the same active ingredient as the ones listed above.

At home, you should use air filters or dehumidifiers to keep the air clean and cool. Using an air conditioner is also thought to help.

If you’re severely allergic to a number of things, you should put down either wooden flooring or plastic linoleum. These floor coverings don’t trap allergens, making them safer for you. You should also stick to all natural cleaning products and all natural fabrics like cotton.