Allergies are caused by an immune system response to a foreign substance that is generally not harmful to your body. These foreign substances are called allergens. They can include certain foods, pollen, or pet dander.
The job of your immune system is to keep you healthy by fighting off harmful pathogens. He does this by attacking everything he thinks could put his body in danger. Depending on the allergen, this response may involve inflammation, sneezing, or a host of other symptoms.
Your immune system normally adapts to its environment. For example, when your body encounters something like pet dander, you must realize that it is harmless. In people with allergies to dandruff, the immune system perceives it as a foreign invader that threatens the body and attacks it.
Allergies are common. Various treatments can help you avoid your symptoms.
Symptoms of allergies
The symptoms you experience due to allergies are the result of several factors. These include the type of allergy you have and the severity of the allergy.
If you take any medications before an anticipated allergic response, you may still experience some of these symptoms, but they can be reduced.
For food allergies.
Food allergies can lead to bloating, hives, nausea, fatigue, and more. It can take a while for a person to realize they have a food allergy. If you have a severe reaction after a meal and you're not sure why, see a medical professional right away. They can find the exact cause of your reaction or refer you to a specialist.
For seasonal allergies
The symptoms of hay fever can mimic those of a cold. They include congestion, a runny nose, and puffy eyes. Most of the time, you can manage these symptoms at home using over-the-counter treatments. See your doctor if your symptoms become unmanageable.
For severe allergies
Severe allergies can cause anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening emergency and can lead to breathing difficulties, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. If you experience these symptoms after coming into contact with a possible allergen, seek medical help immediately.
All the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction are different. Read more about allergy symptoms and what could cause them.
Skin allergies can be a sign or symptom of an allergy. They can also be the direct result of exposure to an allergen.
For example, eating a food that you are allergic to can cause various symptoms. You may experience tingling in your mouth and throat. You can also develop a skin rash.
However, contact dermatitis is the result of your skin coming into direct contact with an allergen. This could happen if you touch something you are allergic to, such as a cleaning product or a plant.
Types of skin allergies include:
- Rashes Areas of the skin are irritated, red, or inflamed and may be painful or itchy.
- Eczema. The skin patches become inflamed and may itch and bleed.
- Contact dermatitis. Red spots and itchy skin develop almost immediately after contact with an allergen.
- Sore throat. The pharynx or throat is irritated or inflamed.
- Urticaria. Raised, itchy, red welts of various sizes and shapes develop on the surface of the skin.
- Swollen eyes. The eyes may be watery or itchy and look "puffy."
- Itch. There is irritation or inflammation on the skin.
- Burning. Inflammation of the skin causes discomfort and stinging sensations on the skin.
Rashes are one of the most common symptoms of a skin allergy. Find out how to identify rashes and how to treat them.
Causes of allergies
Researchers are not exactly sure why the immune system causes an allergic reaction when a normally harmless foreign substance enters the body.
Allergies have a genetic component. This means that parents can pass them on to their children. However, only a general susceptibility to allergic reaction is genetic. Specific allergies are not transmitted. For example, if your mother is allergic to shellfish, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are too.
Common types of allergens include:
- Products of animal origin. These include pet dander, dust mite waste, and cockroaches.
- Drugs Penicillin and sulfa drugs are common triggers.
- Foods. Allergies to wheat, nuts, milk, shellfish, and egg are common.
- Insect bites. These include bees, wasps, and mosquitoes.
- Mold. Mold spores in the air can trigger a reaction.
- Plants. Grass, weed and tree pollens, as well as resin from plants such as poison ivy and poison oak, are very common plant allergens.
- Other allergens. Latex, which is often found in latex gloves and condoms, and metals like nickel are also common allergens.
Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, are some of the most common allergies. These are caused by pollen released by plants. They caused:
- itchy eyes
- crying eyes
- runny nose
Food allergies are becoming more and more common. Learn about the most common types of food allergies and the symptoms they cause.
How can you prevent allergic reactions?
The most effective way to prevent allergic reactions is to avoid allergens. Once you know which allergens your child is allergic to, ask your doctor how you can avoid them.
For example, if your child is allergic to grass, his doctor may encourage him to wear long pants and socks outside.
If they are allergic to dogs, their doctor may advise them to avoid petting them.
If you are allergic to certain foods, your doctor will emphasize the importance of never eating them. For example, you and your child will likely be encouraged to read ingredient lists, ask questions about restaurant menu items, and take steps to avoid contaminating dishes and cooking surfaces with allergens.
Natural remedies for allergies.
Many natural remedies and supplements are marketed as a treatment and even as a way to prevent allergies. Discuss this with your doctor before trying them. Some natural treatments may contain other allergens and make your symptoms worse.
For example, some dry teas use flowers and plants that are closely related to plants that can cause severe sneezing. The same is true for essential oils. Some people use these oils to ease common allergy symptoms, but essential oils still contain ingredients that can cause allergies.
Each type of allergy has a number of natural remedies that can help speed recovery. There are also natural options for children's allergies as well.
Natural remedies for skin symptoms.
Antihistamine creams and lotions are available at many drug stores. Some other remedies can also help calm skin symptoms.
For example, to help treat contact dermatitis, bathe the irritated area with warm water and mild soap. Then consider applying aloe vera gel or calendula cream.
However, keep in mind that some people may also be sensitive to the ingredients in these products. If your child's skin is dry, an unscented moisturizing cream or ointment can help.
To help relieve hives, apply a cool, damp cloth to the area. Putting baking soda or oatmeal in your child's bath water can also provide a calming effect.
Natural remedies for sinus symptoms
Even if you install filters in your air conditioner, get rid of allergy-causing pets, and keep children indoors when pollen counts are high, it can be difficult for them to completely avoid airborne allergens.
To treat mild respiratory symptoms, consider trying over-the-counter allergy medications.
Breathing the steam from a bowl of hot water can also help clear congested sinuses.
And some people believe that nasal washing can help. In this procedure, you use a Neti pot or other device to rinse your child's nasal cavities with water. Do this only with older children who will cooperate with the procedure.
Natural remedies for stomach symptoms
If your child has diarrhea, encourage him to eat a bland diet. For example, many people recommend rice, toast, bananas, and applesauce. It is also important that they drink plenty of water and other fluids.
If your child feels nauseous, encourage him to rest and stay still. Get rid of strong odors that could make your stomach upset worse, like candles or air fresheners.
You can also look for special anti-nausea wristbands at your local pharmacy. They are designed to stimulate a pressure point that could help relieve nausea. Although there is no strong evidence that they work, they are low risk.