The Surprising Facts About Allergies


Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people. Allergies are something we acquire through life, and some people are more susceptible than others. Allergies can range anywhere from relatively mild to severe enough to require emergency medical attention. Allergies can affect as many as 1 out of 2 people, although some people are completely unaware of their allergies. Allergies, such as air born allergies, are typically the body's reaction to an irritant such as dust, molds, pet dander, or pollen.


Allergy symptoms vary, but may include: Breathing problems, Burning, wearing or itchy eyes, Conjunctivitis (red, swollen eyes), Coughing, Diarrhea, Headaches, Hives, Itching of the nose, mouth, throat, skin or any other area, Runny nose, Skin rashes, Stomach cramps, Vomiting, Wheezing.

Symptoms of food allergies can include: itchy mouth and throat when food is swallowed (some kids have only this symptom – called "oral allergy syndrome"), hives (raised, red, itchy bumps), rash, runny itchy nose, abdominal cramps accompanied by nausea and vomiting or diarrhea (as the body attempts to flush out the food allergen), difficulty breathing, shock, Insect Venom. Symptoms can range from minor or major seasonal annoyances (for example, from pollen or certain molds) to year-round problems (from allergens like dust mites or food).


Some people have allergy-like reactions to hot or cold temperatures, sunlight, or other physical stimuli. Allergic reactions can also be caused by insect bites, jewelry, cosmetics, and other substances. Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) require a medicine called epinephrine, which can be life saving when immediately given. Substances that cause allergic reactions, such as certain foods, dust, plant pollen, or medicines, are known as allergens. Anaphylaxis usually occurs minutes after exposure to a triggering substance, such as a peanut, but some reactions may be delayed by as long as 4 hours.

Antibiotics – medications used to treat infections – are the most common types of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Many other medicines, including over-the-counter medications (those you can buy without a prescription), can also cause allergic reactions. The venom (poison) in insect bites and stems causes allergic reactions in many people. The most complete way to avoid allergic reactions is to stay away from the substances that cause them (called avoidance).


Treatments for allergies include allergen avoidance, use of antihistamines, steroids or other oral medicines, immunotherapy to desensitize the response to allergen, and targeted therapy. Specific illnesses that are caused by allergies (such as asthma, hay fever, and eczema) may require other treatments. Call for an appointment with your health care provider if Severe symptoms of allergy occur or Treatments for allergies no longer works. If your family doctor suspects you may have an allergy, he or she may refer you to an allergist, a person who specializes in allergy treatment, for further testing. The good news is that doctors and scientists are working to better understand allergies, to improve treatment methods, and to possibly prevent allergies alike.


Allergies are caused by the body's response to what it has determined as alien. Allergy shots are most effective when used to treat those with hay fever symptoms and sever insect sting allergies. A newer nasal spray called azelastine (Astelin) is approved for those with seasonal or environmental allergies. The best way to reduce symptoms is to try and avoid what causes your allergies in the first place.