Have you ever experienced getting bumps or rashes that are itchy on your skin? How about the sudden sneezing and coughing? Those are just a few symptoms of an allergic reaction. It is generally not harmful but can be fatal in some cases. Being aware of the triggers of allergies can help prevent it from happening. There are also available allergy treatments to help prevent mild to severe allergic reactions.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is the immune system’s response to allergens like pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, food, insect stings, medicine, etc. It varies from person to person and chooses no age, gender, and color. It can happen to anyone. The immune system produces antibodies to help our body fight the harmful substance that can cause us to feel ill. Through this defense system, the body works to expel what it believes to be harmful pathogens, causing the body to experience inflammation, coughing, sneezing, or may cause difficulty breathing. Pathogens are infectious agents that cause or produce disease and illness.
What are the symptoms of allergy?
The symptoms of allergy depend on the type of allergens that triggered the allergic reaction. Allergic symptoms affect the airways, sinuses, nasal passages, digestive system, and skin. It can range from mild to severe, and the result can be life-threatening.
Mild symptoms of an allergic reaction
1. Nasal congestion or Allergic Rhinitis
Pollen and mold spores type of allergen causes allergic rhinitis or known as hay fever. It is usually present through the air. Thus, when inhaling the substance causes your body to react, and you may experience a sudden nose drip or wheeze. Another type of allergen is the perennial caused by dust mites, pet hair, dander, or mold. Visible signs include sneezing, coughing, itching on eyes, nose, mouth, throat, and skin, runny or stuffy nose, headache, sore throat, hives, or trouble smelling. Although allergic rhinitis is almost like having a regular cough or cold, this reaction on your body differs in terms of the texture. Nasal hay fever is thin, clear, and watery, while a regular cough is thicker. Frequent sneezing is also noticeable.
2. Itchy and watery eyes
Itching, redness, burning sensation are the common visible signs that you are experiencing eye allergy. Triggers of such include pollens from our environment like the grass and trees. Pet dander dust and irritants like smoke also contribute to it.
3. Skin allergy
Rashes are visible signs of skin allergy. It appears to have inflammation with red patches or minor bumps on your skin. It is itchy, sometimes painful, and has a burning sensation. The food we eat or any allergen that touches our skin causes this type of reaction. Common skin allergies are Eczema. Eczema is a condition that shows appears like rashes. A different kind of skin allergy is Allergic contact dermatitis. It is a sudden kind of rash caused by an allergen that touched your skin. It makes look scaly, and you may experience blisters. Hive is also a common type of allergic reaction. It appears somewhat similar to rashes. Some possible symptoms of hive allergies include difficulty breathing or a swollen face. It may also appear on any part of your body.
Severe symptoms of an allergic reaction
Severe symptoms of allergies are fatal to one’s health and may cause death in just a few minutes. It is called anaphylaxis. It is a rare kind of allergic reaction and affects your entire body and progress within minutes. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, pain or tightness in the chest, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, heart palpitations, weakness, swelling of the face, eyes, and tongue, a sudden drop of blood pressure, difficulty breathing, or unconsciousness. The cause of having this kind of allergic reaction is unknown and applies to anyone.
When do the symptoms of allergy become visible?
The reaction of the allergens to the body is not always the same. Some experience a sudden trigger reaction in just a few seconds to a few minutes, while others can experience it after a few days.
What are the treatments for allergy?
There are different ways to combat allergies. Methods can vary depending on the severity, the type of allergic reaction, and the type of allergen that triggers your body. Minor allergies can be treated topically or over-the-counter oral medication, usually antihistamine, corticosteroids, or decongestants.
Antihistamine is a kind of drug that blocks histamines and is a known allergy treatment. It helps stop minor allergy symptoms. It is an over the counter medication to prevent hay fever, indoor type of allergies, and food allergies. Antihistamine is also available in IV injections.
Decongestant is a type of allergy treatment, especially for a stuffed nose. It can be in pills, liquids, or nasal sprays, and some are available over the counter. It shrinks the blood vessels and tissues that is swelling caused by the allergy. However, decongestants can’t help with the itching and sneezing of your nose.
Treatment for skin allergies can be in the form of topical ointments that contain corticosteroids. Corticosteroid contains steroids that can help reduce the swelling and itching.
Steroids or also known as corticosteroids help reduce the inflammation and swelling from the allergy. Unlike the other drugs that you can take one time to relieve the symptoms, administering a regular intake of steroids is necessary to receive its full benefits, even when you do not experience the allergy.
Immunotherapy is a kind of treatment that boosts the person’s tolerance to the triggers of allergen. The prescription of this kind of therapy is for those most likely to suffer a frequent allergic reaction.
How to prevent allergy?
Identifying your triggers helps prevent allergic reactions. Skin prick tests are the best ways to determine which allergens you should avoid. It typically takes about 20 to 40 minutes of the procedure using a lancet needle. It is a mild needle pricking, and it’s not painful, and neither will you bleed. A drop of each common allergens will be put on your skin to test its reaction. From there, you may notice visible signs or none at all. However, some results are not noticeable within a few minutes and may take a few days.
Keeping a clean environment can help prevent allergies caused by dust mites and molds. Keeping your home dry and well ventilated is also another way to reduce exposure to specific allergens. When choosing what food you should take, make sure to read the ingredients labeled on your purchase to avoid consuming anything that has a component you are allergic to.
If you know where you are allergic to, avoiding those allergens or taking an oral medication before the expected exposure can help relieve further symptoms from coming.
USA Today Network Florida, one of the major news networks, featured Alexi Stafford, a Florida teenager who died from a single food allergen’s consumption. She was allergic to peanuts. In her case, eating a peanut-containing cookie which she had mistaken as a chocolate-dip cookie caused her sudden death. She started to feel the tingling in her mouth, and her condition rapidly deteriorated. She was brought to the hospital and provided with medication; however, the allergic reaction was too severe and caused her to stop breathing within 90 minutes.
Alexi Stafford’s case is proof that allergies shouldn’t be taken lightly. Careful precautionary measures should be monitored and addressed accordingly. Consulting a doctor is your best option to help with any allergic concerns instead of self-medicating. Although there are over the counter medications, there are particular allergy treatments prescribed specially for each specific type. Let ENT allergy and sinus clinic help you.