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Allergies

Allergy Relief & Testing

Allergies arise when the body reacts unusually to substances typically considered harmless. For the majority, these allergens cause no issues. However, for those with allergies, their immune response is intensified.

What Happens in the Body?

Immune System’s Role: Typically, our immune system plays the vital role of protecting our bodies from foreign substances. When allergens enter, most people’s immune systems recognize them as benign.

Release of Histamines: For allergy sufferers, exposure to allergens triggers their bodies to release histamines. Histamines are natural chemicals produced by our immune system. They play a pivotal role when our body needs assistance eliminating a foreign substance.

Symptoms Triggered by Histamines: The histamines lead to familiar allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, sneezing, and fatigue. They signal the body’s desire to expel or combat the allergen in question.

Common types of Allergies

  • Pharmaceuticals/Drugs: Ingredients found in certain medications can cause a person to have an allergic reaction. Examples include allergies to penicillin & aspirin or other pain-relieving meds.
  • Dust, Mold, and Mildew
  • Food: This can include nuts, seafood, milk, and eggs. According to the ACAAI, it is estimated that 4-6% of children and 4% of adults suffer from food allergies
  • Pollen: Those who suffer from a pollen allergy often see their symptoms increase during seasonal changes.
  • Animal Dander: Problematic dander is mostly from domestic animals such as dogs and cats.
  • Insect Bites/Venom/Stings: The most common allergy in this category is due to bee stings.
  • Chemicals: In relation to allergies, these are in reference to environmental chemicals such as pesticides and other air contaminants.

Over-the-counter Medicines & DIY remedies

There are over-the-counter remedies you can try, as well as some at-home DIY remedies.

Over-the-counter remedies include but are not limited to antihistamines, available in many different forms, such as eye drops, nasal sprays, and pills.

 

  • For example, you could take Claritin, an antihistamine, or Flonase, a nasal steroid spray.

Some at home remedies may include

  • Use an air purifier: It acts as a cleaner that removes pollen, dust, mold spores, dust mites, dander, and other allergens that could cause a bad reaction. The filters in your air conditioning unit or air purifier must be checked every 30 days and replaced regularly.
  • Wash your bedding: Wash your bedding once a week in hot water to remove any bacteria, dust mites, and allergens that may have accumulated on your body and transferred to your bedding while sleeping.1
  • Use a microfiber cloth to dust your home: Other kinds of cloth don’t hold onto the dust as well, allowing it to move freely back into the air.
  • Use air conditioning over open windows: Sometimes, it’s nice to get fresh air into your house, but when you open the windows, you also open a freeway for allergens to seep inside.
  • Use a HEPA vacuum filter: It’s recommended you use a HEPA filter on your vacuum because it will trap extremely small particles that move freely in the air.

Allergy Relief & Testing

Someone suffering from allergies may notice symptoms lasting much longer than a typical cold. A cold may last up to two weeks, whereas allergies can last from days to months. Typically, someone experiencing a cold may gradually have symptoms over a few days, but allergies can begin immediately and without warning. One of the biggest symptoms that can help you determine if you are suffering from allergies or a cold is the mucus color from your runny nose. Usually, the mucus found in those with a cold is yellow, while allergy mucus is clear. Also, with a cold, you may experience a fever that would not be present with allergies unless you develop related complications.

To diagnose allergies, the medical practitioners at Midwest Express Clinic may ask you a series of questions regarding your symptoms and lifestyle habits to narrow down the source. Additional testing may be required.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are common symptoms of allergies?

People with allergies often experience itchy eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing, coughing, and fatigue. The symptoms arise from the immune system releasing histamines in response to foreign substances called allergens.

What triggers allergic reactions?

A variety of substances can trigger allergies. Some of the most common allergens include:

Pharmaceuticals/Drugs: Such as penicillin, aspirin, and other pain relievers.
Environmental Factors: Like dust, mold, mildew, and pollen.
Food Items: Notably nuts, seafood, milk, and eggs. An estimated 4-6% of children and 4% of adults suffer from food allergies.
Animal Dander: Mainly from domestic animals like cats and dogs.
Insect Bites/Venom/Stings: Bee stings are a common allergen in this category.
Chemicals: Environmental chemicals, including pesticides and other air contaminants.

Are there over-the-counter solutions or home remedies for allergy relief?

 Yes, there are various ways to manage allergies

Over-the-counter remedies:

Antihistamines available in forms like eye drops, nasal sprays, and pills (e.g., Claritin or Flonase).

DIY home remedies:

Air Purifiers: These devices reduce allergens such as pollen, dust, and dander. Ensure filters are checked and replaced regularly.
Regular Bedding Cleaning: Washing bedding in hot water weekly can eliminate dust mites and other allergens.
Microfiber Cloth for Dusting: These cloths trap dust better than regular ones.
Use Air Conditioning: Keeping windows closed prevents allergens from entering.
HEPA Vacuum Filters: These trap tiny airborne particles effectively.

How can I differentiate between cold and allergy symptoms?

It’s crucial to differentiate between the two, as treatments may vary. Allergies can persist from days to months, whereas a cold usually lasts up to two weeks. Cold symptoms tend to develop gradually, while allergic reactions can be instantaneous. Notably, colds might produce yellow mucus and possibly a fever, while allergy-induced mucus is typically clear, and allergies don’t usually cause a fever unless there are complications.

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