Allergies are reactions of the human body to certain foods, drinks or substances. Allergic reactions are very common and can happen to anyone, especially children.
Allergies can disappear slowly as a person gets older. However, in certain cases, there are persistent allergies that do not improve even into adulthood.
Symptoms of allergies usually include itching in the eyes or skin, frequent sneezing, nasal congestion, and rash. Allergies can be triggered by anything, including grass, dust, smoke, and so on. Foods that may also cause allergies are milk and nuts.
Allergy is not a fatal disease, but if left untreated, the symptoms can interfere with daily activities. Allergic reactions can usually be managed. However, for some people, an allergic reaction can be severe and dangerous.
Causes of Allergy
Allergy symptoms appear when the immune system reacts to certain substances, treating them as if they were dangerous. The cause of allergy is not known with certainty, but allergic conditions are usually genetic.
Allergy sufferers typically have a medical family history of allergic conditions, such as asthma with eczema.
There are several common factors of allergies such as:
- Certain antibiotics.
- Insect stings such as bees and ants.
- Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, dust, mould.
- Certain foods, especially nuts, seeds, eggs, milk, fish and shellfish.
When to See a Doctor for Allergy?
Allergic conditions should be consulted with an allergy specialist doctor and immunologist. To diagnose an allergy, the doctor will conduct an examination with a medical interview to determine symptoms and habits. You should describe the symptoms you are experiencing, how often and when the symptoms appear, and the potential triggers.
In the case of a mild allergy, the doctor will prescribe medicines based on the patient’s symptoms. However, for severe allergic conditions, there are certain tests that need to be done.
Acute allergy sufferers need to find out the factors that trigger allergies through a number of tests, including a blood test.
There are also other tests such as a patch test to identify the type of eczema that may cause the skin to be exposed to airborne allergens. A patch test is performed by directing a metal plate containing the suspected allergen to the skin. The disc will be placed for 48 hours to observe the patient’s skin reaction.
There is also a food diet test for patients with allergies to certain food ingredients. The doctor will advise the patient to avoid consuming those certain foods for a certain duration of time. After a few weeks, the doctor will direct the patient to consume those foods again to observe if they trigger a reaction.
Symptoms of Allergy
In general, symptoms and allergic reactions appear within minutes of being exposed to the allergen. However, for some people, allergic reactions appear only after a few hours.
Allergy symptoms may include:
- Coughing, difficulty breathing.
- Itchy, watery, red eyes.
- Sneezing and an itchy nose.
- Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
- Dry, red, and cracked skin.
- Swollen lips, eyes, or tongue.
Allergy symptoms vary from person to person, depending on the body’s immune condition and what triggers the allergies. For example, you could have a cold as an allergic reaction after your nose has been exposed to pollen.
Allergic reactions in children should be treated immediately. Consult a pediatrician to help identify the factors that cause allergies and treat them.
In certain cases, allergy symptoms can lead to a dangerous condition called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is characterized by a rash and itching of the skin, a swollen throat, low blood pressure, and vomiting.
The symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Light-headed feeling
- Blue lips and skin.
- Loss of consciousness or fainting.
Treatment for Allergy
Allergy symptoms can be treated with medications as recommended by your doctor. Medicines can be dispensed to patients through injection or direct consumption.
Allergy treatment depends on the type of allergy suffered by each patient. One of the most commonly recommended treatments is to avoid allergy triggers. You can do the following:
- Watch out what you consume, as it may cause allergies
- Avoid animals and do not keep pets in the house.
- For people with dust and mould allergies, maintain cleanliness of the house.
- For people with dust allergies, avoid dust by installing dust-proof blankets and pillows in the room.
Below are some types of medications to treat allergies:
- Decongestants, medicines to relieve nasal breathing problems.
- Creams, allergy medicines that are applied to the skin when an allergic reaction appears on the skin surface.
- Steroids, medicines to help relieve inflammation and infection due to allergic reactions. It can come in the form of creams, sprays, and tablets.
- Antihistamines, allergy medicines that help treat allergies caused by insect bites and food. This medicine works by blocking the histamine produced in your body
Treatment Cost for Allergy
The cost for allergy treatment varies, depending on the symptoms, the causes, and how the patient reacts to the allergy.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of allergy treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Allergy
The most effective way to prevent allergies is to avoid allergic triggers. Allergy prevention can be done more optimally if you can identify what triggers your allergies.
Prevention of dust and mites allergies can be done by:
- Using wooden floors.
- Routinely washing pillows, dolls, blankets, and other objects in the room.
- Using bed linen and pillowcases that are hypoallergenic
- Routinely clean the surfaces of objects in the house with a damp cloth.
Meanwhile, to prevent animal allergies:
- Do not keeps pets in the house, especially in the bedroom.
- Bathe pets at least once a week.
- Routinely wash pillows, cloths, and other objects where the pets usually sit or rest
- Increase air circulation in the house by opening the windows regularly
As for preventing food allergies:
- When eating at a restaurant, make sure you do not order any food that may trigger your allergies. Always ask the waiters about the ingredients used.
- Always check the composition of the food you want to consume.
- Avoid restaurants that serve foods with allergens, such as seafood restaurants.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Allergy
Treating patients diagnosed with an allergy can be done without undergoing intensive care in a hospital. This is because allergic reactions tend to be mild and harmless.
Home remedies include regularly consuming prescribed medicine and avoiding allergy triggers as much as possible.