Allergies have plagued me since my late twenties. I was surprised to think that I would be allergic to anything since I had always been the picture of health in my family. I always thought I was getting a cold. My sister and my mother both had asthma which is usually a good indication that you are prone to allergies so unfortunately they did run in my family. Now that I am in my forties and have 2 children that also exhibit symptoms it is time to get to the bottom of the mystery.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology “Estimates from a skin test survey suggest that allergies affect as many as 40 to 50 million people in the United States”.
Allergies can affect people at different ways:
- at different times of life
- during different seasons
- different allergen source
There are a number of different culprits that can cause an allergic reaction in people. The include but are not limited to pollen, dust mites, mold and foods. If you think that you are suffering from allergies, you should make an appointment with your doctor to find out what you are allergic to and what your best treatment plan options are.
Allergies are generally inherited as seen above my mother has allergies while my father doesn’t. If one or both of your parents suffer, you stand a good chance of having them also. Surprisingly you can’t assume that because your mother is allergic to eggs, you will be also. You may instead develop a reaction to pollen or mold. The genetic link is simply in whether or not you are predisposed to developing an allergy. Another possible reason for developing a reaction to a particular substance is exposure to that substance when your immune system has been weakened. After my second pregnancy I developed shingles due to exhaustion which compromised my immune system. This was in the spring and that was my worst season ever.
What Specifically is an Allergy Anyway?
Allergies occur as a result of your body’s immune system reacting incorrectly to some sort of foreign substance. Your immune system will see dust or pollen as a harmful substance to your body and react accordingly. The end result can be watery eyes, sneezing, itching, hives, and severe reactions trouble breathing. For many, the reaction will be mild and require little or no medical intervention. For others the reactions may cause a life threatening condition called Anaphylaxis. This requires immediate medical assistance. During an extreme allergic reaction, , you may initially feel itching which will quickly progress to swelling, pain and vomiting.
How can these Allergies be Managed?
Antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays are usually the first line of defense advised by doctors. Some allergies my require lifestyle changes to help you reduce your exposure to the allergen. You may have to keep your pets out of the house or attempt to maintain a dust-free environment. If your allergies become unmanageable, your doctor may also recommend immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, to “cure” your allergies and help you to have symptom-free days. Nowadays there are many options for managing your allergies. The first step is to accept that you have them. I know it took me a long time to do so. Knowledge is the key and this site will continue to explore all the developments in the areas of allergies and allergy relief.