Allergies or allergic reactions are an immune response to a substance that should normally not bother someone. It is your immune system mistaking a usually harmless substance for something dangerous one like bacteria. It is, if you like, your immune system responding to a false alarm.
What are the causes of the more usual allergies?
What causes allergies are called allergens and common ones would include:
- Pollens – particularly grass pollens causing “hay fever”.
- Dust mite. This is a common cause of childhood asthma.
- Moles and spores as found for example on stale bread and in penicillin.
- Pet dander usually only causing symptoms when the pet is close by.
- Certain foods. Food allergies will be the subject of a separate post because they are the most serious.
- Insect bites, particularly wasps and bees. Again these have the potential to cause anaphylactic shock and death.
- Medicines. All medicine carries the potential to induce an allergic reaction but none more so than the penicillins.
What are the common symptoms of allergies?
- Running eyes and nose
- Sneezing and itching
- Skin rashes like allergic dermatitis of hands particularly.
- Bronchial asthma. This is a very serious manifestation of allergies and will be the subject of another article.
- Swelling of lips
- Swelling of tissues around eyes
- Anaphylactic shock. This is the most serious and life threatening of all allergic responses. Food allergies and insects bites are often the allergens associated with anaphylastis.
What are some treatments for allergic reactions?
- Epinephrine more commonly called adrenaline via self administered injection with an Epipen. This can be life saving in the case threatened anaphylactic shock.
- Steroids via oral tablets, injection, ointments, drop and spray depending of site of allergic reaction.
- Antihistamines, again given in various ways are useful in controlling symptoms. Histamine release is often part of an allergic reaction.
If you suffer from allergies and would like some guidance or advice as to how best manage them we are here to help you.