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Allergies : Everything You Need to Know About Triggers, Diagnosis, and Treatment
What are Allergic Reactions? | Operation Ouch : Allergies : Everything You Need to Know About Triggers, Diagnosis, and Allergies Treatment. Allergy season is now in full swing, and people everywhere are looking for tips to get rid of allergies. One of the first things you should do if you suspect allergies, is to go have an allergy test done. This test is usually done at either your primary care physician’s office, or at the office of an Allergy and Immunology doctor.
The test is usually performed by a nurse or medical assistant and the results are interpreted by the doctor. After this test is complete, you will have a better idea of what is triggering your symptoms. Then you can take steps to prevent allergy symptoms, and ultimately, learn how to get rid of your allergies!
This article will discuss five of the most common allergies and tips on how to get rid of them. First you may ask, what is an allergy? Basically, an allergy is an unnatural immune reaction to a normally benign substance (whether plants, animals, insects or food) that your body thinks is harmful. These substances are called allergens.
When you come into contact with an allergen, your body releases a chemical called histamine into the bloodstream, (in hopes of destroying what it thinks of as an invader) which causes inflammation. This is called an allergic reaction. Sometimes, an allergic reaction is so severe, it can become fatal. What are some of the most common allergies? They include substances such as:
- Pets / animal hair
Of all common offenders, pollen is the number one allergen in the United States, and is the most common allergy during seasonal allergy months. Pollen comes from a multitude of plants, herbs, trees and flowers, and spreads like wildfire through the air. The most prevalent time for pollen is during the spring and summer, when most plants bloom to life. Plants release pollen on into the autumn season, and while winter is usually a time for pollen-allergy sufferers to breathe a sigh of relief, there are still some plants that release pollen even in the dead of winter.
Mold is pesky little fungi that loves to grow in warm, moist, dark places. Mold releases spores into the air, and when mold is touched or the spores are inhaled, they cause inflammation in the airways and bring on an allergic reaction. It is important to have your house routinely checked for mold, especially if you live in a humid climate. The longer a mold problem persists, the harder it is to eradicate.
An allergy to animal hair is a very common, yet unfortunate, allergy to have. The most common cause of an allergy to animal hair is the proteins that coat the hair. Those oils/proteins are there to protect the animal’s coat of hair and keep it shiny. Unfortunately, those shiny coats trigger respiratory allergies in many people, which can be very sad for animal lovers. Sometimes, animal hair allergies are so severe that the afflicted person, sadly, cannot keep a pet.
Latex allergy is another quite common, yet often times severe, allergy. The protein contained in the latex rubber is the offender here, and usually leads to an immediate, sometimes very severe allergic reaction. For those who work in the healthcare field, and those who require frequent doctor visits, this allergy can be problematic, since many healthcare items contain latex. Fortunately, more and more medical manufacturers are coming out with latex-free gloves and other latex-free equipment.
Last on this list of the top five most common allergies, but certainly not least, are food allergies. Food allergy can, at times, be the most problematic allergy of all. This is because nowadays, in this age of food additives and preservatives, there are many hidden ingredients in processed and pre-prepared foods. The most common food allergies are nuts, shellfish, wheat and milk/dairy products. When a food allergy sufferer eats an allergy-causing food, their bodies release histamine into the bloodstream, causing inflammation which can be severe. This reaction can be anywhere from diarrhea and stomach cramps to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that causes the airway to close or swell shut.
Now that you know some of the most common allergies, and you know that getting tested to identify your allergies is the first step, it’s time to talk about how to get rid of your allergies. Many (but not all) modern doctors believe that adults won’t be able to totally get rid of their allergies. Children tend to grow out of their allergies, but most adults retain their allergies for life.
Don’t groan just yet – keeping positive is a huge step in dealing with your allergies. Contrary to popular belief, there is hope – yes, you can get rid of your allergies! Some more good news is that many naturopathic doctors, herbalists, and natural healers believe that you can indeed get rid of allergies.
The next step to getting rid of your allergies is to avoid the things that give you allergic reactions. That sounds fairly simple, but it can be complicated when it involves allergens such as food. Modifying your environment can go a long way to getting rid of allergies. Keep an allergy diary and write about your reactions – this will help you learn what to avoid. If you have mold in your house, make sure it is cleaned out and totally eradicated by specialists that deal specifically with getting rid of mold.
If you are allergic to your household pets, don’t fret. Do some research into allergy-friendly pets that you can own – yes, there are allergy-friendly animals out there. There are even allergy-friendly dogs such as the short-haired Chihuahua. If you are allergic to pollen, make sure to have someone help you keep your grass mowed and your yard in tip-top shape, and take your prescribed allergy medicine daily.
If latex is what gets your allergic response going, be sure to alert any new doctors to this allergy, and carefully read labels on household and cosmetic supplies to make sure they are latex-free. Food allergies can be the trickiest, but if you become an avid-label reader and carry allergy medicine (including an Epi-Pen for serious reactions) with you that should go a long way to helping you avoid the offending substances.
Do a diet of elimination – meaning, eliminate all the problem foods from your diet for a period of time (usually around 6 weeks) and then slowly introduce them back in, one at a time. Many times, elimination diets have huge success rates, even to the point that the previous allergy-causing foods no longer cause problems!
Next on the list is treatment. Take your prescribed allergy medicine every day. If you know you are going to come into contact with any allergens, take your medicine beforehand to lessen or even prevent symptoms. Talk to your doctor about getting what is called allergy shots. These shots contain very small amounts of the substances to which you are allergic, so as to desensitize you. The theory is, which each shot, you become less and less allergic to that particular substance. The good thing is, many people have a huge success rate with allergy shots. Another option is alternative treatments such as chiropractic and acupuncture sessions.
A lot of allergy sufferers swear by acupuncture to alleviate their allergies. Other alternative treatments would be vitamin, antioxidant and herbal supplements that boost the immune system, stabilize cells, and repair damage. Examples of these would be vitamin C, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, Quercetin, green tea, and omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Saline sinus rinses also have a high success rate, since they flush out irritants and bacteria. Speaking of flushing out irritants – a good intestinal cleanse has worked wonders for many food allergy sufferers.
Remember to always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, doing any kind of cleanse, or starting any kind of alternative therapy for your allergies. Though you may want to, you can’t diagnose yourself. Allergy sufferers need to be under the care of a physician. Don’t fret or get discouraged, though! No matter what the naysayers say, there are options and you can get rid of allergies. Allergies don’t have to last forever – and when you follow the tips outlined in this article, you can kiss your allergies goodbye.
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What are allergic reactions? These Operation Ouch patients are finding out the hard way!
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Lots of science projects to take a deeper look at the human body. Body parts and systems covered including:
– Blood Pressure
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