It’s easy to say “I’m allergic” to one thing or the other without actually understanding what you’re saying. Allergies are not our perceived non-preferences because we don’t have any control as to what our body agrees with or not.
In any case, it is important to talk about allergies, how to tell, what causes them and how to manage them when they occur.
To start with, what are allergies?
The body adjusts to it’s environment. This adjustment stretches to substances that are common in it. However, when the body begins to treat certain substances that are normally harmless as dangerous, it can be said it has developed an allergy or that substance.
Allergies are hypersensitive responses the body gives when certain normally harmless substances come in contact or are introduced into it.
The substances that cause these allergies are called Allergens.
Common types of allergens include:
* Animal products. These include pet dander, dust mite waste, and cockroaches.
* Drugs. Penicillin and sulfa drugs are common triggers.
* Foods. Wheat, nuts, milk, shellfish, and egg allergies are common.
* Insect stings. These include bees, wasps, and mosquitoes.
* Mold. Airborne spores from mold can trigger a reaction.
* Plants. Pollens from grass, weeds, and trees, as well as resin from plants such as poison ivy and poison oak, are very common plant allergens.
* Other allergens. Latex, often found in latex gloves and condoms, and metals like nickel are also common allergens.
Symptoms of allergy:
The symptoms that one experiences is dependant on several factors like; the part of the body affected, the type of allergy and the severity of it.
However, taking medication before an anticipated allergic reaction can reduce the effects of it.
Skin allergies are the most common. These can cause rashes, Welts, eczema. There are instances where severe itching and burning sensations are experienced. In severe cases, bleeding is also experienced. Of these symptoms, rashes are the most common.
Food allergies can trigger swelling, hives, nausea, fatigue, and more. It may take a while for a person to realize that they have a food allergy. If you have a serious reaction after a meal and you’re not sure why, see a medical professional immediately. They can find the exact cause of your reaction or refer you to a specialist.
Seasonal allergies (Hay fever) symptoms can mimic those of a cold. They include congestion, runny nose, and swollen eyes. Most of the time, you can manage these symptoms at home using over-the-counter treatments. See your doctor if your symptoms become unmanageable.
Severe allergies can cause anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening emergency that can lead to breathing difficulties, lightheadedness, and loss of consciousness. If you’re experiencing these symptoms after coming in contact with a possible allergen, seek medical help immediately.
It is advised that you avoid any known allergens espec, if there’s the tendency of severe reactions. Also, medications that reduce the effect of these reactions should be on affected persons at all times.
In our next article, we’ll discuss in detail the causes of allergies.
Ezeani Uchechukwu, AKA Saddam Ninhor, currently undergoing B. TECH programme in Microbiology at Federal University of Technology, Owerri. Despite his science roots, he loves to dabble with words in short stories, poems and also shares knowledge of household and relationship efficiency.
He sets simple goals, working at his own pace to achieve them. This is greatly inspired by the words of Zig Ziglar; “go as far as you can see, when you get there, you will see further.”
Social media: Saddam Ninhor(Facebook).