Allergies spring up when the body’ immune system reacts to suspected foreign substances.
Simply put, the immune system might identify a particular substance such as food, dust, pollen, drugs, a pet as harmful and causes a reaction.
Here’s how it is; your immune system – a network of complex network of cells and proteins – produces antibodies that alert it of harmful foreign substances.
Sometimes, it may identify some allergens as harmful even though it isn’t. When it does, your immune system reacts causing allergy symptoms such as rashes, swelling, hives and in some extreme cases, anaphylaxis.
Types of allergies and symptoms.
Food allergy can result in;
- Swelling of the tongue, lips, face or throat
- Tingling in the mouth
A drug allergy can result in:
- Itchy skin
- Facial swelling
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) can result in;
- Runny, stuffy nose
- Itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth
- Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
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An insect sting allergy can cause:
- A large area of swelling or edema at the sting site
- Itching or hives all over the body
- Cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath
In extreme cases of food and insect sting allergies, anaphylaxis may occur. This is a life-threatening condition that causes the blood pressure to nose dive sending the person into shock. Some signs include;
- A drop in blood pressure
- Severe shortness of breath
- Skin rash
- A rapid, weak pulse
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
In cases of anaphylaxis, the person must seek emergency medical attention immediately. Epinephrine auto-injector, Auvi-Q, EpiPen or other similar medications would be administered to open the airway and stabilise the blood pressure.
When to see your doctor for allergies
If you notice any symptoms of allergic reaction, you should see a doctor for proper diagnosis especially if over the counter pills don’t give you any relief. The doctor will conduct a medical examination and ask about your health history. They may also ask that you keep a journal to keep track of the symptoms and the trigger substances.
Dealing with allergies long term
Knowing what the allergens that your immune system reacts to is the first step so you can avoid them. Also, medications that bring relief when allergies show up is something you should keep in hand. If you have severe allergic reactions that result in anaphylaxis always carry an epinephrine auto-injector and inject yourself if symptoms occur.
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