Living Life with Allergies
Allergies are the bodies way of fighting off “harmful substances”, or allergens, by the production of Histamines. People can be allergic to all sorts of things, including:
For most people, allergies are only during “allergy season”, or when plants are pollinating and cars are covered in yellow dust. However, other people suffer from allergies year round.
Effects of Allergies
Allergies mean different things for different people. They can range from simple, to severe. The most common symptoms can simply make you uncomfortable. Here’s a few things that can happen.
NoseMost people who have allergies start sneezing. This can happen when they are allergic to things like pollen, cats, or perfume. The sneezes can be plentiful and violent. If you happen to start sneezing uncontrollably, remove yourself from the situation, and try to blow your nose.
Eyes Some people may not look allergic to certain objects, but end up later having symptoms. Someone could pet a dog and be perfectly fine. Half an hour later, they rub their eye quick, and it starts watering and turns bloodshot. This can be remedied by washing your hands and face, and eyedrops to reduce redness.
Skin If you touched something that you are allergic to, your skin will often tell you. Skin will appear red and itchy. Dog scratches can often swell up and appear very swollen. Small red bumps called hives may appear. A quick wash of the skin with warm water and soap should stop most of the itch. If itching pursues, a hydrocortisone cream from your local mart will take the itch away.
Throat If someone is allergic to a certain food, it could be deadly. Food allergies range from minor to severe and it’s safer to just avoid things for that reason. You can be allergic to citrus, and have your lips tingle a little when you eat an orange. The taste of artificial cinnamon could cause you to not be able to taste anything for three days. Those are some of the minor effects. Nuts, seafood, and other foods can cause anaphylaxis, the closing of the throat and prevention of oxygen from entering the body. This can lead to suffocation, and possibly death.
Insects Bees/wasps are the most common insect to be allergic to. One sting can cause severe swelling of the body, and anaphylaxis. The best way to prevent insect stings is to avoid at all costs. Often times, people over-react when near a bee if they are allergic. This scares the bee, and it decides to sting. Without an EpiPen, people who are allergic to bees are rushed to the hospital. It is important to carry one in case you need it.
Avoidance There are a few things you can do to treat allergies. What one works for you is dependent upon your medical history and unique allergens. The most common treatment is avoidance. It may be hard, but often times it is easier to just say no to something than it is to deal with the allergies. Other treatments are available.
Medication There are a variety of medications available for allergy sufferers. Over the counter pills being the most common. Loratadine and Diphenhydramine being the common ingredients, or Claritin and Benadryl product names. Benadryl can have a drowsy effect to it, since it has the same active ingredient as ZzzQuil. Your body can eventually become immune to these pills, so alternating them can help prevent that.
Nasal Spray is also under medications. Now taking nasal spray if you never have is scary, so let me walk you through it. All you do is exhale, plug one nostril, and squeeze the nasal spray as you inhale from the other nostril. Instant relief. There are a few different kinds. Here’s a short personal review of some of the ones I’ve tried:
- Flonase (Fluticasone) All around the nicest daily nasal spray. It opens up your nasal passages for at least 12 hours, and can be used at night to wake up feeling nice and decongested.
- Afrin (Oxymetazoline) As far as instant relief goes, this one takes the cake. It has a somewhat minty taste to it, and clears you up in 5 minutes. Great for if you head down south during pollen season and can’t seem to catch your breath. However, this has been known to cause chronic bloody noses. It dries out the inner nose and causes it to crack. So not to be used for more than 7 days.
- Vicks (Also Oxymetazoline) Not as strong as the Afrin was, but still worked. Is a nice decongestant for people who are new to nasal spray. Would recommend more for people who are sick than for allergies.
- Astepro (azelastine) Was prescribed this after getting allergy tested, because as much as it is a decongestant, it’s an antihistamine. Not sure if it’s because it was prescription or not, but could not get over the taste. As you inhale the nasal spray, it works its way through your nose, and into the back of your throat. After landing on the back of your tongue, you can kinda taste it. This was the most rotten nasal spray I have tried, and I canceled my prescription for it. However, that doesn’t mean it may not work for you, but that’s is what I experienced.
There are others that I have tried but I will leave you with those.
Shots You can go to an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor and get tested for what you are allergic to. They then mix up an injection that contains tiny amounts of everything you are allergic to. This slowly teaches your body that when the substance enters your body, it does not need to over-produce histamines. It is a weekly shot administered at the ENT office. These shots have been proven to “cure” your body of allergies over time. After a few years, your body says, okay, I know this substance, and there’s no reason to overreact to it.
Allergies can be the biggest nuisance, but they don’t have to be. With proper knowledge and a little medication each day, you can manage your allergies. There are plenty of other allergies and symptoms but these are a few common ones. If you have anything to add, feel free to add it to the comments.