Millions of people suffer from various forms of allergies. Over 50 million people suffer from chronic allergies in America and allergies are the fifth largest chronic disease in the US. And while some allergic reactions may be minor (causing some discomfort), others can be life threatening.
Here is some information about common allergic triggers, some signs and symptoms of allergic reactions, and how to treat an allergic reaction.
Common Allergic Triggers:
- Pet Dander
- Dust mites/ Dust
There are over 160 different types of food allergies with strawberries, peanuts, seafood, wheat and dairy the leading causes of allergic reactions:
- Insect stings
Additionally, sun exposure, stress, hot or cold temperatures, exercise, and emotions can all trigger allergic reactions in the body.
Many allergies are hereditary, so if you have a family member that suffers from a severe allergy, you should definitely be tested to verify whether you are also affected.
Allergy Symptoms and Treatments
Coughing, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and congestion are symptoms associated with pollen, mold, pet dander, and dust allergies. In addition to these symptoms, people suffering from these types of allergies may also experience shortness of breath — another breathing difficulty. Allergy sufferers that experience these symptoms may also experience insomnia due to the discomfort brought on by their allergy symptoms.
Itchy or irritated skin or breaking out in hives can also are common allergy symptoms. For those suffering from food allergies, you may experience severe stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Other allergy symptoms include: headache, dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, swollen glands and sore throat.
For those with severe allergies, there is always the risk of going into anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is the term used to describe a combination of allergic reactions that is both sudden and life-threatening. Shock is the result of anaphylaxis and it is the product of the body’s organs not getting enough blood due to dangerously low blood pressure. This drastic and sudden drop in blood pressure can cause unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and even death. Anyone who has been diagnosed with severe allergies that can lead to anaphylactic shock will be prescribed emergency medication by means of an EpiPen and should seek urgent medical attention if they experience an allergic reaction.
An EpiPen is an injection containing epinephrine which is a chemical that stimulates the heart, increase your blood pressure, opens airways in the lungs and constricts blood vessels. The injection can easily be self-administered.
Both prescription and over the counter antihistamines are effective treatments for common allergies. Medications such as Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra, and Singulair can all be taken once a day to alleviate allergy symptoms for up to 24 hours. (Please read instructions carefully.)
For those who suffer from skin related allergic reactions, in addition to oral antihistamines you can also use topical treatments such as cortisone.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays (like Nasonex and Flonase) can treat the nasal symptoms associated with allergic reactions.
Research has also shown that taking regular probiotics may alleviate digestive issues related to allergic reactions.
If you experience allergy related symptoms while on allergy medication, it is important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible as you may need an adjustment in your prescription.
Allergy shots function a lot like vaccinations in that they expose allergy sufferers to small amounts of allergens over time (in order to prevent future allergic reactions). Shots will need to be administered every 2 to 4 weeks for a 2 to 5 year period for best results.
If you are unsure whether you or a loved one is allergic to a particular allergen, it is possible to have a skin or blood test done in order to determine what you are allergic to.
Because food allergies can be particularly life-threatening for children, it is important to have them tested and correctly diagnosed as soon as possible. And even before your child exhibits certain symptoms associated with food allergies, it is advisable to avoid exposing them to foods that are known to cause severe allergic reactions (such as peanut butter and shellfish).
Allergy treatment with Dr. Mayank Shukla
Now that you know more about the different types of allergies, their symptoms and treatments, be sure to utilize these methods should you or a loved one experience an allergic reaction. Remember, if you suspect that you have an allergy it is imperative that you be tested and properly diagnosed as soon as possible.
If you have any further questions about allergies or need more info on how to treat them, be sure to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you. And to schedule an appointment, simply visit drmayankshukla.com.