Allergies are quite common: 10-30% of the world’s total population are diagnosed with allergic rhinitis. Allergy diseases come in many forms and symptoms may differ depending on what your triggers are. Learn more about the different types of allergies and what you can do to prevent an attack.
What causes allergies?
An allergic reaction starts when your immune system mistakes a harmless substance for a dangerous invader. In turn, your body produces antibodies that can release certain immune system chemicals like histamine which can cause allergy symptoms.
Kinds of allergies and their symptoms
There are various types of allergies out there like hay fever, food allergies, eczema, drug allergies, and insect sting allergies. Most allergy symptoms affect the way you breathe or may cause you to develop rashes. Although some allergies go away without any kind of medication, some severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) may prove to be life-threatening if you don’t seek medical help. Here are some common symptoms of each kind of allergy according to Mayo Clinic.
|Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)||Food allergy||Atopic dermatitis (eczema)||Drug allergy||Insect sting allergy|
|· Sneezing||· Anaphylaxis (severe cases)||· Itching||· Anaphylaxis(severe cases)||· Anaphylaxis (severe cases|
|· Itchy nose/eyes||· Swelling in the mouth/throat||· Flaking||· Itching||· Swelling (edema) at the sting site|
|· Runny/stuffy nose||· Hives||· Reddening of the skin||· Wheezing||· Wheezing|
|· Watery, reddish eyes (conjunctivitis)||· Facial swelling||· Rashes/hives all over the body|
Keeping a detailed diary of your possible allergic reactions can help your doctor properly diagnose your condition. He/she will likely ask you about your family medical history and perform several diagnostic exams like skin and blood tests.
What you can do
- Keep your household clean – follow a cleaning schedule at home so you can maintain a dust-free environment. Replace/rinse the filters of your air-conditioning units on a regular basis and vacuum the carpeted areas in your home.
- Stay indoors – Seasonal allergies can be triggered by high levels of pollen and dry/windy weather. Mayo Clinic recommends that the best time to head out is after some rainfall so pollen levels are cleared from the air.
- Stock up on medicines – your doctor may prescribe some over the counter medications for allergies like nasal sprays and oral antihistamines which usually contain cetirizine and loratadine.
- Groom your pets – give your pets a bath once a week or so to reduce shedding.
- Invest in an air filter – consider purchasing an air filtration machine with a HEPA filter. Make sure you consider your room size before buying so you can maximize its effects.
- Keep unwanted air out – close your windows most especially during pollen season. Assign a designated smoking area outside your house if you live with people who smoke cigarettes.
- Avoid your triggers – refrain from consuming or exposing yourself to any of your known allergy triggers.
- Jot down your triggers – wearing a medical alert bracelet can greatly help others in assisting you should you be caught in an emergency situation.