How Allergies Can Really Make You Sick

How many times have you heard, “I’m not sick, I just have allergies”? Although it’s true that when you are suffering from allergies or an allergic reaction, you don’t have a “disease” and you aren’t contagious, but you are sick. Your body is making you ill and you are suffering as much as anyone who has a cold or the flu but you’re expected to soldier on. Although it isn’t completely clear why more people suffer from allergies now than they have in the past, the chronic allergy sufferer may be damaging their bodies without realizing it.

Chronic allergic reactions and sensitivities (not a full blown allergic reaction, but an innate immune response) can cause inflammation and make it difficult for people to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight. There has been a lot of research conducted recently that shows the negative effects on our bodies from inflammation. Continuing to subject your body to these effects is not a good idea. Allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma can also wreak havoc on your body, preventing you from engaging in healthy activities like exercise and can be extremely dangerous for some people.

So what’s a person to do? Over-the-counter antihistamines can fight the body’s immune response, but that isn’t always effective for long-term treatment. Immunotherapy may be the right solution if you’ve been suffering from migraines, inflammation, fatigue and achy joints. Were you even aware that you had a food or environmental sensitivity or allergy? There are several forms of immunotherapy including allergy shots and sublingual (under the tongue) treatments that are used to desensitize your body to a specific allergen. Over time the body is exposed to small amounts of the allergen so that the immune system doesn’t react and gets used to it. The hope is that eventually, after 2-5 years, the immune system won’t react to the allergen even in large amounts. For some foods, even avoiding the food for a period of time has been found to eliminate the allergic reaction, eliminating the inflammation and allowing the food to be eaten again.

Newer allergy tests can pinpoint specific allergens even if you haven’t had a reaction or been exposed to it yet. Knowing what you are allergic to is the first step in addressing health issues caused by allergies and sensitivities that can be blocking you from feeling your best. One allergy test becoming more common is the IgG test that measures the body’s antibody response to possible allergens. If the body produces IgE in response to a food or environmental substance, the test indicates the level of reactivity to the allergen. Another test measures changes in white blood cells when exposed to a particular substance, both in size and in shape. With this test, results will indicate an allergy even if the person has never been exposed to the allergen before. With a doctor’s assistance, an elimination diet and/or immunotherapy can be prescribed to attempt to eliminate the allergic response.

Allergy tests can be taken again after treatment to determine whether the allergic reaction has been eliminated. Eliminating the allergy can mean eliminating inflammation, migraines, achiness as well as barriers to a healthy weight. You don’t have to take allergies lying down!