Allergy Prevention & Treatment
If you suffer from allergies, then you know all too well about the itchy eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing, coughing and fatigue that may come along with this diagnosis. Typically, your immune system will protect your body from foreign substances such as allergens, and most people do not experience any difficulties when allergens enter their body. However, in a person who suffers from allergies, their bodies release histamines. Histamines are a chemical which our immune systems naturally create, and are released when our body is needing help getting rid of a foreign substance, such as an allergy.
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, 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 most often see their symptoms increase during seasonal changes.
- Animal Dander: Problematic dander is most often 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.
There are over-the-counter remedies you can try, as well as some at-home DIY remedies. Over-the-counter remedies include antihistamines, which are 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 which takes away 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 need to be checked every 30 days and replaced on a regular basis.
- Wash your bedding: Wash your bedding once a week in hot water to rid it of any bacteria, dust mites, and allergens that may have accumulated on your body and transferred to your bedding while sleeping.
- Use a microfiber cloth to dust your home: Other kinds of cloths 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 are also opening 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.
What is the difference in allergy vs. cold symptoms?
Someone suffering from allergies may notice the symptoms lasting a much longer duration than a typical cold. A cold may last up to two weeks, whereas allergies can last anywhere from days to months. Typically, someone experiencing a cold may have a gradual onset 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 color of your mucus from your runny nose. Usually the mucus found in those with a cold is of a yellow color while allergy mucus is clear. Also, with a cold you may experience a fever that would not be present with allergies unless you are developing related complications.
In order to diagnose allergies, the medical practitioners at Midwest Express Clinic may ask you a series of questions regarding your symptoms and lifestyle habits in an attempt to narrow down the source. Additional testing may be required.
When to Get Immediate Care
Home remedies are a good way to help heal or stop common illnesses and minor injuries and can be very useful. However, it is important to know when the problem has become too much to handle on your own.