Allergies are constantly poking our eyes and our nose to sink! These articles will help you better understand allergic reactions and give you the keys to fight.
Allergies are rising
We are more likely to be allergic. Whether respiratory, skin, or food, allergies annoy our life. And very early Spring 2015 does not help: with rising temperatures and escape pollen resulting in respiratory allergies.
What is an allergy?
Allergy is a hypersensitivity of the body to substances, and generally harmless in the environment. These substances, allergens may be in the air, food, or especially drug. Upon contact, the immune system reacts by an inadequate response. The trigger of this allergic reaction can be immediate or delayed. The allergy results from an inappropriate reaction of the body after contact with substances found in everyday life.
What causes allergies?
Triggered by pollens, dust mites, or mold, allergies affect one in four people. The good news? There are treatments that can bypass allergic reactions and prevent these symptoms from disheartening. When you suffer from these allergies, your immune system reacts to this harmless substance as if it were a dangerous invader. The result? mucus production (which is normally one to two liters per day!) increases, the nasal passages swelling and inflammation settles. And that is when the symptoms are felt. To counter, try the best natural remedies and most effective tips to relieve your allergy symptoms.
The symptoms of allergies
- Food allergies: red and white patches on the skin, itching, swelling of the eyes, tongue, and face.
In case of more severe allergy, anaphylaxis can occur.
Note: Symptoms usually appear within 30 minutes after consumption of the food.
- Asthma: wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty to breathe, and dry cough. These symptoms occur sporadically.
- Atopic eczema: red patches with crusts of dry skin and dander, at specific locations of the body itching.
- Allergic rhinitis: in the presence of the allergen, itchy nose and runny, itching, and redness in the eyes and tension in the sinuses.
- Hives: transient rash of pink or whitish papules with itching and burning sensation.
- Allergies to insect venoms: red rashes, pain, and swelling at the place where the bite is, soon after being bitten. In case of more severe allergy, anaphylaxis can occur.
- Anaphylaxis: a tightening of the throat, difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, pallor, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. In the case of anaphylactic shock, adds a pressure drop that can cause loss of consciousness. Anaphylactic shock can be fatal.
Are we all allergic?
You would think this when you see the numbers of allergies increasing. Many opinions said that respiratory allergies (allergic rhinitis and asthma) have almost doubled in the last 20 years. It is estimated that 25 to 30% of the population is now affected by an allergy. This term, the all-out genes: rhinitis (runny nose) and allergic conjunctivitis would affect 15 to 20% of the population, both would be affected by topic dermatitis (eczema), asthma interferes 7-10 % people. Finally, food allergies will reach 2% of adults and 5% of children.
Their common cause? A reaction of the immune system, due to a genetic predisposition, against an allergen. To defend against it – though a priori harmless – our body pulls artillery. Result: runny noses, swollen eyes, skin scratching, etc. Issue: In some cases, the allergic reaction is so strong that it causes a condition within the medical emergency: Bloated, including the throat, it’s hard to breathe.
Allergens continue to proliferate in recent decades. Pollens, first migrate from south to north as a result of global warming. Result: the pollen season starts earlier in February and ends in November and December! In short no respite for those allergic to pollen, which often develop cross allergies, especially with food. Thus allergic to birch pollen may be too with apple, peach, hazelnut (and other food)!
In our homes, it should be better and better isolated – at least in regard to germs and viruses, mites, mold (in pots of green plants), and, paradoxically, dust.
Finally, it is also about our plates; if the world food seduced our palates, it is not the same for our immune system. The latter has not yet accustomed to finally still fresh foods in our latitudes. He identifies them as potential enemies and responds: hives, swelling or even nose and watery eyes … is allergic attack.
The best strategies to prevent the development of allergies
- Do not go out before a storm. The moisture contented in the air increases sharply before and during storms, causing the outbreak of pollen grains, which release their allergens.
- If you must go out in full pollen season, wear very opaque sunglasses to minimize eye irritation.
- Wear a protective mask when you know you will be exposed to pollen. You will find effective and inexpensive filter masks in drugstores and hardware stores (they serve to protect from dust).
- Prepare a sort of “pollen trap” by applying vaseline dab at the entrance to each nostril. Pollen spores should stick to it until you inhale them.
- Close windows in your car. If you put the air conditioning, choose the position “closed circuit” in order not to rub pollen-laden air into the cabin. Some models can be equipped with a special filter. Check with the dealer.
- During the pollen season, wash your hair before bed in order to not drop dust and pollen on the pillow.
For now, the only recognized preventive measure is to avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoke would create a fertile ground for various forms of allergies. Otherwise, we do not know of other measures that can protect themselves: there is no medical consensus in this regard. However, the medical community is exploring various avenues of prevention that may interest parents with allergies who want to reduce the risk that their child suffers as well.
Assumptions of prevention
Most studies we report in this section focused on children at high risk of allergies because of family history.
Exclusive breastfeeding: Practiced during the first 3-4 months of life, or even the first 6 months, it would reduce the risk of allergies in early infants 4,16,18-21,22. However, according to the authors of a synthesis of studies, it is not certain that the preventive effect is maintained long term. The beneficial effect of breast milk may be due to its action on the intestinal wall of the infant.
Indeed, growth factors are present in milk, as well as maternal immune components, contribute to the maturation of the intestinal mucosa. Thus, this may cause less to let the allergens organism. Include it on the market infant formula, not allergens, preferred by mothers of children at risk of allergies who do not breastfeed.
Medical treatments for allergies
Some general remarks
The first stage of treatment against allergies is to identify the allergen (e.g., pollen, animals, mold, dust mites, or certain foods) and avoid it if possible. Depending on the type of allergy, the doctor will suggest various drugs that will alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. We find drugs against allergies as pills, liquid, nasal sprays, eye drops, and topical creams. Some are obtained by prescription, other prescriptions.
In the case of food allergy, the only treatment is to stop consuming the food for the rest of his life. People with a strong food allergy, usually to nuts, peanuts, fish, or shellfish, can cause anaphylactic shock are required to keep on hand an auto injector of epinephrine (EpiPen, Twinject®). Epinephrine slows allergic reaction, the time to get medical care. Note that latex allergies, certain medications, and insect bites can also cause anaphylactic shock.
Medical treatment for asthma
Leukotriene antagonists, bronchodilators (beta2-agonists fast acting or slow-acting theophylline, ipratropium bromide, etc.), corticosteroids.
Medical treatment for eczema
Corticosteroids (topical or oral), antihistamines, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, pimecrolimus, antibiotics, ultraviolet treatment, psychotherapeutic approaches.
Medical treatment for allergic rhinitis
Antihistamines, decongestants, nasal or oral corticosteroids, leukotrien antagonists, desensitization therapy, surgery.