Guide to Understanding Prominent Allergies
When it comes to feeling sick, one of the most common causes is allergies. An allergy manifests when your body’s immune system comes into contact with something harmful. An allergic response occurs in response to the harmful substance, helping flush out your system and warn you against coming into contact with such substances again.
Just as there are many different types of people out there, there are many different types of allergies as well. Some people are more sensitive to certain types of substances compared to others. For the sake of this guide, we’ll be focusing on two broad categories of allergies: food allergies and airborne allergies.
What Is a Food Allergy?
A food allergy is anytime your body’s immune system responds when you ingest a certain food. Even if the food itself isn’t traditionally harmful, the body produces antibodies to combat the ingested food. Most immune responses create a specific antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE), but other food allergies may not produce the IgE antibody, making it harder to repress the allergy response.
It is important to note that food allergies are different from food intolerance. Food intolerance is simply a reaction caused by the body being unable to digest food properly. This includes responses like lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, and more. Food intolerance, while potentially dangerous in some people, is typically not as threatening as food allergies.
How Can I Tell if I Have a Food Allergy?
It is estimated that about 5% of people have a food allergy that requires monitoring. These allergies can cause serious harm, or even death, if you don’t properly manage them. Here are a few of the most common foods that cause a food allergy reaction:
- Artificial sulfates
In some cases, you may have been able to eat some of these foods for years before a response generates. As such, it is important to pay attention to any negative symptoms that develop after coming into contact with or eating one particular food.
These symptoms include:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Throat, mouth, or face swelling
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dizzy, lightheadedness, and headaches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Itchy red eyes or rash
Consult a doctor right away if you experience any of the above symptoms after eating a particular food. They may administer a blood or small contact test to help confirm if you have a food allergy or food intolerance response. If your doctor does find you have an allergy, they will typically recommend lifestyle or other interventions to help you avoid or eliminate the substance from your daily intake.
What Is an Air Allergy?
Air allergies are a broad category of several different allergies that are grouped together because the allergic reaction is caused by substances found in the air you breathe. Similarly to food allergies, each of these allergies causes a response in your immune system when coming into contact with certain airborne substances.
The most prominent airborne allergies are:
Mold Allergy: Mold is a type of fungus that can grow on almost any surface as long as it is wet or damp enough for the fungus to reproduce. Severe and large mold infestations are harmful to everyone, though some people are allergic to even small mold spore exposure.
Pet Allergy: It is estimated that at least 10% of the world has an allergy to cats, dogs, hamsters, and other common house pets. This is due to proteins produced in many animals, which are picked up by air particles through dandruff, saliva, and urine. People with severe pet allergies can have an airborne allergic reaction for this reason.
Pollen Allergy: Pollen allergies are considered one of, if not the most common allergy in the world. Many people experience seasonal allergies, as the arrival of a new season causes plants to release pollen grains to fertilize the area. Trees, grasses, flowers, weeds, and many other plants may all release pollen spores carried through the air that can cause an allergic reaction.
How Can I Tell If I Have an Airborne Allergy?
Despite the many different sources that cause airborne allergies, the general symptoms are usually the same. Airborne allergies typically cause:
- Itchiness in the nose, eyes, and throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Dry coughs
- Wet coughs or mucus in the throat
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Asthma-like symptoms
If you experience the above symptoms, it is worth consulting a doctor. Because there are many different types of airborne allergies, it may be more difficult to determine the exact trigger for your allergy. However, skin tests, blood tests, your family medical history, and recalling what you were doing before your allergic reaction can help determine what caused the allergic response.
Are There Any Treatments for Allergies?
Generally, the best way to prevent an allergic response is to do everything you can to avoid coming into contact with allergy triggers. Initial allergic responses are usually milder than repeated responses, giving you the opportunity to prepare and guard yourself against allergic triggers in the future.
Unfortunately, some triggers are harder to avoid, especially those that are airborne. Doctors may recommend antihistamines, nasal sprays, and other allergy prescription medicine to help reduce or prevent symptoms from manifesting. Immunotherapy may also provide long-term protection in some cases.
Air purification is also highly recommended by doctors. Air purifiers help suck up pollens, mold spores, and other toxins and contaminants that would otherwise trigger allergic reactions. Remember to regularly swap out your vent air filters. Additionally, portable and HVAC air purifiers are also recommended for rooms and offices that often trigger an allergic response.
Check Out Air Health for Your Air Purification Needs
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Contact us today and find out how Air Health can help you have fresher, healthier air soon.