Allergic reactions: symptoms, triggers and treatments

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Some people sneeze like crazy. Others have itchy hives or watery eyes. But whatever the reaction, it boils down to one thing: allergies.

If you have allergies, you have a lot of company. Up to 30% of American adults and 40% of children are in the same boat as you.

While your problem may seem to start in the nose or eyes, allergies are actually caused by an immune system in the wild.

Learning why these reactions occur can help you keep things under control and feel better.

Why allergic reactions occur

Your immune system has an important job: defending your body against invaders such as bacteria and viruses that harm you.

But when he makes war on substances he shouldn’t, he’s an allergy.

Peanuts, eggs or pollen, for example, can trigger reactions. They are called allergens.

During a reaction, your immune system releases antibodies. These are proteins that send a message to cells: Stop this substance! The cells then send out histamine, which causes blood vessels to expand, and other chemicals, which trigger allergy symptoms.

These antibodies are determined. Each targets a single type of allergen. This explains why someone can be allergic to peanuts but not to eggs.

You can come into contact with allergens in several ways: through the skin, eyes, nose, mouth or stomach. It can clog your sinuses, inflame your skin, make it harder to breathe, or cause stomach problems.

What are the things that most often cause an attack?

Why do some people have such severe allergies and others do not? Experts don’t have all the answers, but they say family history matters.

Some common allergens include:

Symptoms, from itchy eyes to sneezing

Your allergy attacks can range from mild and boring to more serious and even potentially life-threatening. It all depends on how your body reacts and how much of the allergen has entered your system.

If your allergy is severe, you may have a serious reaction called anaphylaxis. Some cases can be life threatening and require urgent attention.

Here are some common types of allergies:

Hay fever: Also called allergic rhinitis, it can cause:

Food allergy: You may feel tingling in your mouth. Your tongue, lips, throat, or face may swell. Or you could have hives. In the worst case scenario, you could have anaphylaxis and need medical help right away.

Eczema: Also known as atopic dermatitis, this is a skin condition. Most types of eczema are not allergies. But the disease can flare up when you are near things that cause a allergic reaction. Your body’s immune system overreacts to substances called allergens, which are generally not harmful. You might have hives, itching, swelling, sneezing, and a runny nose. You might have it if you have itching, redness, and peeling or peeling.

Medicines: If you are allergic to a certain medicine, you may have a rash, swelling of the face, or hives. You might be wheezing. In severe cases, you can develop anaphylaxis.

Stings: If you are allergic to bees or other insects, you may have:

  • A large area of ​​swelling, known as edema, at the site of the bite
  • Itching or hives all over the body
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, or cough

As with some other allergies, such as foods and medications, a severe reaction to a sting can lead to anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis: what it is and how to get help

Most people with allergies only have mild to moderate symptoms, but severe cases can lead to anaphylaxis.

It is a serious situation and can put your body into shock. Food, medicine, insect bites, or latex are the most likely causes.

A second anaphylactic episode can occur up to 12 hours after the first.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis can appear suddenly.

They can quickly go from a mild rash or runny nose to serious problems such as difficulty breathing, a tight throat, hives or swelling, nausea or vomiting, and fainting or fainting. dizziness. Some people may have a rapid heartbeat or their heart will stop beating.

If you have had seizures in the past or know you are at risk for anaphylaxis, your doctor may prescribe medicine for you or someone else to give you. Adrenaclick, Auvi-Q, EpiPen, Symjepi, or a generic version of an epinephrine auto-injector are devices loaded with this medicine.

Always take it with you and be aware of your allergy triggers.

Call 911 and go directly to the emergency room at the first sign of a problem, even if you have used the injection device. Go ahead even if you start to feel better, in case you have a late reaction.

How can I get relief?

You can find treatment options for mild to moderate allergic reactions. Antihistamines and decongestants can help treat some symptoms, as can nasal sprays.

If you have allergic-type asthma, your doctor may also prescribe an inhaler to relieve seizures. Or they can inject a special antibody to manage the symptoms.

If you aren’t getting enough relief by avoiding your allergens and using medication, your doctor may want to give you allergy shots. This type of treatment is called immunotherapy and can be effective for hay fever and allergic asthma.

Another type of immunotherapy involves tablets that dissolve under the tongue.

For your sinuses, an over-the-counter medication may relieve your symptoms.

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