Blame exposure to everything from the environment to pets, from medications to food.
But there’s a way to avoid certain irritants, and to lessen the impact of the sneezing, scratchy throats and itchy eyes which may follow. If left unchecked, sufferers are at risk for more serious health issues.
Talk to your doctor if you begin to experience a new allergic reaction — or if your symptoms seem to be worsening. In some very serious cases, a visit to a local emergency room may be required to get more immediate care.
Allergies are actually the result of our immune system’s overreaction to foreign substances, according to the Mayo Clinic. Our antibodies identify these substances as harmful, even though they may not be. The most common allergies involve many everyday found things. Airborne allergens include animal dander, pollen, mold and dust mites. Certain foods may also produce a reaction, including wheat, peanuts, seafood, tree nuts, milk and eggs, among others. Many are allergic to insect bites or stings, including bees, ant and wasps. Penicillin and other related antibiotics are allergens for some. Latex is a common skin irritant.
In most cases, the symptoms of an allergic reaction mimic a cold. The difference is in how quickly these reactions take hold. You may quickly develop a runny nose, itchy eyes, rashes, swelling, sneezing or breathing problems as your immune system cranks up. Check for sensitivities and talk to your doctor about any family history with allergies. Many of these reactions are minor, but in the severest of cases a life-threatening situation known as anaphylaxis may occur. In that case, immediate medical care is needed.
Treatment and Prevention
Unfortunately for sufferers, there is no cure for allergies. Still, you can help lessen the occurrences through avoidance, deep cleaning and certain treatments. Allergy meds, including antihistamines and nasal-saline sprays, are typically effective — even at over-the-counter strengths. Check with your doctor, however, before starting any regular regimen of medicine. You may have to avoid time spent with certain pets. For those with a sensitivity to mold, better ventilation and the use of a dehumidifier can reduce moisture. More frequent housecleaning and bedding wash schedules can lessen the impact for those who react poorly to dust or mites.