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- What Are Allergy Symptoms?
- What Causes Allergy Symptoms?
- Help for Allergy Symptoms
- More Information about Allergy Symptoms
What Are Allergy Symptoms?
The most common allergic symptoms affect the skin and respiratory tract. However, allergies can manifest in several ways.
Allergic symptoms may appear to be localized or systemic. Localized reactions occur when an allergen comes into direct contact with skin or mucus membranes with signs like redness, itching, fluid filled, weeping blisters or peeling, cracked skin appearing. Systemic reactions present symptoms that most people recognize as allergy symptoms. These include hives, wheezing and generalized itching. The nasal passages may be congested, a runny nose may be present and eyes may be itchy, puffy and red. Sometimes, allergic reactions are accompanied by nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, while at other times anxiety, agitation or listlessness may occur.
While most allergic reactions are just uncomfortable, some can be deadly. The most serious allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which can cause death in minutes. If symptoms of anaphylaxis occur, call 911 immediately.
Signs of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, lightheadedness, dizziness, loss of consciousness and swelling within the airway. Hives, anxiety, irritability or digestive complaints may be present. Anaphylaxis requires immediate treatment with epinephrine injections.
Causes of Allergy Symptoms
Almost anything can provoke an allergic reaction in a sensitive individual. People with hypersensitive immune systems are prone to allergies, but allergies also run in families. If you are allergic to one substance, you have a higher likelihood of being allergic to other allergens (the substances that cause allergic reactions).
The immune system is designed to protect the body, but in hypersensitive individuals, it misidentifies a substance (the allergen) as a threat to the body. A series of reactions that are meant to protect the body occurs. Since there is no real threat present, the chemicals that the body has released build up and cause allergic symptoms.
Allergic reactions always affect the entire body, even if symptoms are localized. Because an allergic reaction is systemic, the underlying cause and entire body must be treated for optimum healing to occur.
Help for Allergy Symptoms
Allergists are medical doctors who specialize in the treatment of allergies and immune disorders. Conventional and natural health practitioners may refer you to an allergist if your symptoms are recurrent or difficult to diagnose and treat.
All health care providers will ask detailed questions about your medical history and the nature of your allergies. It is important to note what provokes the allergic response, and determine if there is a pattern of allergic reactions. Blood, skin and muscle testing may be utilized, and depending on the type of allergy, dietary or environmental recommendations may be made.
Conventional medical practitioners provide medications which may relieve symptoms. Antihistamines can work in specific allergic reactions, and are frequently recommended to reduce itching and relieve inflammation. However, they are not effective for all allergic symptoms. Histamine is only one of several chemicals released in the body. If histamine is not causing the reaction, then antihistamines will not work. In addition, antihistamines can produce drowsiness which may interfere with daily activities.
Steroids are sometimes prescribed to reduce inflammation and open up air passages, and may be used internally or externally. They are powerful drugs that are not well tolerated by many people.
Allergy shots may be administered to reduce sensitivity to specific allergens, but can also be painful. Frequently, multiple allergies are present simultaneously, which can limit effectiveness of the shots.
For people who have severe allergic reactions, a medical practitioner may prescribe epinephrine in an injectable form. People who need epinephrine are taught how to self administer the medication in case of emergency.
Natural health care providers prescribe homeopathic and herbal remedies to relieve symptoms. They take a holistic approach, making lifestyle recommendations as well.
In addition to symptom relief, natural remedies enhance the health of the entire body, reducing hypersensitivity. Natural remedies can work quickly, but they work best when taken continuously so that underlying imbalances may be corrected. Homeopathic remedies and most herbs can be taken instead of or in addition to conventional treatments. Homeopathic remedies are safe for all ages and do not cause drowsiness or side effects that pharmaceutical medications do.
More Information about Allergy Symptoms
- Some allergic reactions are common in children, yet dissipate by adulthood. Other kinds of allergies are more likely to develop in adulthood.
- People diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, a skin condition, have a higher likelihood of allergic reactions.
- The best treatment for any allergy is prevention. Eliminate or minimize exposure to the allergen.
- If children have allergies, let caregivers know.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace if allergic reactions are serious. If you require a self injecting epinephrine pen, teach family members how to use it.
Natural and conventional health care methods offer strategies that reduce allergic reactions. The best approach is to find what works for you while minimizing side effects. Include natural remedies and self care techniques to reduce hypersensitivity so that you can reach your optimal level of health, allergy-free.