The immune system is composed of various types of specialized cells, proteins, tissues and organs. Its main function is the detection of harmful organisms and their destruction.When the immune system mistakenly recognizes a particular allergen as harmful, then even though the allergen is not dangerous for the organism to activate immune responses aimed at destroying "the harmful pathogen." In this case it is a type 1 hypersensitivity reaction or an allergic reaction - an allergy.
The most common triggers of allergic reaction are:
Some foods may bother you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have an allergy.When you have an allergic reaction to food, it usually happens within minutes after you eat the problem food. These allergies can be mild or severe. For instance, some children must avoid peanuts in order to prevent a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction.Milk, fish and shellfish, nuts, soybeans, wheat, and eggs are among the most common foods that cause allergies. Your doctor can help you pinpoint exactly what your triggers are so you can avoid them.
Symptoms can include:
~ Wheezing or trouble breathing~ Hives~ Vomiting~ Diarrhea~ Swelling around the mouth
~ Avoid the foods that your body doesn’t handle well.~ If you think you have an allergy, ask your doctor to check it.~ If you have a food allergy, you should carry an epinephrine auto-injector that you can use in case of emergency.
Some people are allergic to certain medicines, such as penicillin or aspirin.Symptoms can range from a mild reaction like a skin rash a few days after you start a drug to a severe and immediate reaction. They can be concerning because they can lead to anaphylaxis. Serious symptoms include:
~ Hives~ Itchy eyes & skin~ Flushing~ Belly pain, nausea, vomiting~ Swelling in the mouth, throat, hands, and feet~ Feeling light headed or passing out
~ For serious reactions, including anaphylaxis, you’ll need to call 911 and you may be hospitalized. For milder symptoms, your doctor may give you an antihistamine or steroids.~ If you know you have a drug allergy or think you might, talk with your doctor. The doctor may refer you for allergy testing.
Many people call it “hay fever,” but pollen from many different plants can trigger an allergy. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes.
~ Treatments in order of use include:~ Salt water nose rinses~ Steroid nasal sprays~ Antihistamines~ Decongestants that you either take by mouth or as a nasal spray~ Allergy shots or tablets (immunotherapy)
~ Stay indoors on windy days or when pollen counts are high.~ Keep windows closed. Use an air conditioner if you need to.~ Don’t hang clothes out to dry when pollen fills the air.
These critters are so tiny you can’t see them without a microscope. Symptoms are similar to those caused by a pollen allergy, but they often happen year round instead of just during certain seasons.Treatment may include medications such as steroid nasal sprays, antihistamines, or decongestants.
~ Put dust mite covers over mattresses, pillows, and box springs.~ Use hypoallergenic pillows.~ Wash sheets weekly in hot water.~ Keep all areas of your home, especially the bedroom, free of stuff that collects dust, such as stuffed animals, curtains, and carpet.
Molds are tiny fungi with spores that float in the air like pollen. They thrive in damp areas such as basements or bathrooms and in piles of leaves or grass.
The symptoms are similar to those of pollen and dust mite allergies and include sneezing, congestion, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, and coughing.Treatment is similar to that for dust mite and pollen allergies.
~ Avoid mold and get rid of things that encourage its growth.~ Repair any water damage or leaks in your home.~ You may not want to keep plants inside because their soil can hold mold.~ If you rake leaves in the fall, wear a mask.
Ouch! Something stung you, and now you’re having a bad reaction to it.Insects that cause allergic reactions include various bees, fire ants, yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps.If you get stung by an insect, you can expect pain, swelling, and redness and heat around the sting site. Those symptoms can last for a few days.It’s rare, but some people get a dangerous, full-body reaction called anaphylaxis, which needs emergency treatment. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
~ Trouble breathing~ Becoming hoarse~ Wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe)~ Swelling, especially around the face, eyelids, ears, mouth, hands, or feet~ Belly cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea~ Feeling dizzy or passing out
~ Make yourself unattractive to insects. Don’t wear brightly colored clothes and avoid scented lotions or cosmetics.~ Keep insecticide handy, wear shoes outdoors, and stay away from outdoor garbage.~ Talk to your doctor about allergy shots. They can help prevent anaphylaxis.
Animal Dander and Cockroaches
You might react to the proteins from oil glands in an animal's skin or proteins from an animal's saliva.It may take two or more years for you to develop an allergy like this. Once you have symptoms, though, they may last until you don’t come into contact with the animal anymore. If you don’t have pets, it might be cockroaches that you’re allergic to.Symptoms include sneezing, congestion, and itchy and watery eyes.
~ Avoid the animals that cause your allergies when possible. If you’re allergic to your pet, ask your doctor if there’s anything you can do that would help, like keeping it off your bed and couches.~ Wash your pet every week.~ You can also take medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal steroids to help.~ If you have cockroach allergies, be sure to keep trash in closed containers and take it out of your home promptly.
You may have a mild reaction, like itchy red skin, from latex in gloves, condoms, or other things. If it’s a true latex allergy, you could also have symptoms like:
~ Teary, irritated eyes~ Runny nose~ Sneezing~ Cough~ Wheezing
It’s less common, but some people can have anaphylaxis from latex.To treat this allergy, you may need to take antihistamines. Your doctor may also recommend you keep an epinephrine auto injector (Auvi-Q or EpiPen) with you at all times in case of emergency.
~ Avoid anything that has latex in it.~ Wear a bracelet that lets people know you have a latex allergy.