Allergy most commonly occurs in the spring and fall and is caused by certain foods and pollen. The foreign substance that enters the body sets off a response that causes the body’s immune system to try and fight off the allergens by sneezing, congestion and runny itchy eyes or a cough.
Springtime is typically the most common time of year for allergies to start. The body’s immune system reacts to foreign matters in the air that are ‘attacking’ the body. It then fights off these invaders by causing reactions such as a runny nose, cough, and itchy watery eyes. Allergic reactions from food are swelling, fatigue, upset stomach, and hives.
Types of Allergy
There are common types of allergens that can set off different reactions. It is speculated that some allergies are genetic. Common types of allergens are:
- Animal products, dust mites, and cockroaches.
- Insect stings from bees, wasps, and mosquitos.
- Drugs like penicillin and mold.
- Metals like copper and latex.
- Plant pollen from weeds, grass, and trees.
- Airborne mold spores
- Nuts, milk, eggs, bananas, cucumbers, melons
In order to recognize if you have an allergy, you should visit your doctor. He can diagnose your allergen by trying different tests. First, a process of elimination by discussing what you recently ate and any substances you have touched
A skin test can be performed by an allergist for testing and type of treatment. The skin is pricked with a small needle that has the allergen in it. For some, this may take several times to find the allergen. If you are allergic to the substance in the needle, the skin becomes red and the reaction is recorded. Your allergist may also try a blood test that takes only one needle to determine if you have allergy-causing antibodies in your system.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction indicated by impaired breathing or unconsciousness and should be treated immediately. People with this severe of a reaction usually carry an emergency epinephrine shot such as EpiPen.
Treatments for Allergy
Becoming aware of what triggers your allergies is necessary so you can find the best treatment. Since medications can change, be discontinued or have something new introduced to the market, it is important to keep in contact with your doctor. It is advised to avoid any supplements that may have Echinacea which can make your symptoms worse.
Natural herbs and supplements can be very effective if started a few weeks before allergy season.
- Quercetin – contains a chemical called flavonoid found in tea, tomatoes, onions, and grapes. A flavonoid found in Quercetin has anti-inflammatory that can block the effects of the histamines. This is recommended to take twice a day and, works best if taken with vitamin C.
- Butterbur extract – a herb that can help block the production of leukotrienes which tightens airways and is as effective as antihistamines. It is recommended to be taken 4 times a day.
- Grape seed extract and goldenseal can also reduce the symptoms of an allergy attack when used in conjunction with vitamin C.
A saline nasal flushing solution can remove pollen and dust from your nasal passages. You can make this at home with sterile water, ¼ teaspoon non-iodized salt and baking soda. Some doctors recommend using a neti pot which will clear nasal passages also but will help prevent dryness in the nose. To use this method, you must lean over a sink, tilt head to one side and squeeze or pour the solution into each nostril, one at a time.
SCIT or subcutaneous immunotherapy, are injections of allergens at increasing doses so your immune system becomes less sensitive. This treatment has had a very good success rate in providing relief. Typically, the treatment is weekly shots for 3 to 6 months, then continues once a month for 3 to 5 years.
Some nasal sprays, oral antihistamines, and eye drops can be purchased directly at a store or pharmacy. These can work well in reducing symptoms for about 8 to 12 hours, but they work even better if used with a prescription specifically for allergies.
If you’re not allergic to hot spicy foods, cayenne pepper, hot ginger, fenugreek, onions, and garlic have shown to thin the mucous secreting glands and relieve nasal mucous.
Prevention from Allergy
There is no absolute way to prevent allergies so avoiding the causes of the allergy is the most effective, but not always the easiest, way to not have a reaction. Mixing natural remedies with traditional drugs can cause severe reactions as some natural remedies can contain other allergens. Once you know what causes your allergies, track your symptoms, avoid the allergens as much as possible by staying indoors at high-allergen times of day, add HEPA filters to your home air-conditioner, and dustproof your home. And, of course, avoid the foods that trigger your reactions.
So, we can draw the conclusion from the above discussion that people should be aware of different types of Allergy and its causes. More importantly, they should know what are the best possible treatments for it and how to apply them.