Pros And Cons Of Allergy Shots
Many allergy sufferers feel differently based on the time of year. Outdoor allergies may be mild in some months, then more severe in others as pollen counts change. How you feel depends on the season, your specific allergen triggers and how much time you spend outdoors.
It neednt be that way, though, as effective treatments are available.
An allergy is a reaction of your immune system to a foreign substance. It can be pollen, dander from pets, like dogs and cats, to different types of food. When an allergic reaction occurs, it is because your immune system manufacturers substances called antibodies that respond to a substance called an allergen. The antibodies produced attack the allergen that your immune system reacts to, as it has identified them as harmful even though the immune system is mistaken. When your immune system makes antibodies, your body may have a reaction that inflames your skin, your airways, or your digestive system.
Your Body On Allergies
So what exactly is happening in your body when youre exposed to an allergen like pollen ?
Essentially what happens is your immune system decides that it wants to become hyper-sensitive, or allergic, to something. So your immune system recognizes pollen as foreign and it releases a big amount of a chemical called histamines into your blood stream. What the histamine does is triggers this whole immune, or inflammatory, cascade of itchy, watery eyes and stuffy or runny nose. Some people are unlucky and it can be even more severe where they can have breathing problems, asthma attacks, and even bad skin reactions, like flare-ups of eczema, hives or rashes from it as well, because we have histamines and allergy cells throughout our entire body.
So why are you dying a slow death at your desk, while your co-worker just has the sniffles?
The severity of the immune response, and triggered symptoms vary from person to person. Just like any medical illness its a spectrum, where some people have a very severe, strong reaction where more body systems are involved and some people have it milder, says Parikh. Even within the same body system: For one person the itching in their eyes may be very mild, but Ive seen patients come in where their eyes are swollen shut.
Help Yourself Along The Way
There are many types of cat allergens, and they can be found in cats saliva, skin excretions, and even urine.
While youre trying to adjust to cats in your home, it may help to take specific steps to reduce your exposure to the allergens. CatTime has a great article about reducing allergens in your home. In addition to the suggestions in that story, there are a few other ideas you can try.
Ask your vet about using non-toxic, anti-allergy shampoos or wipes designed especially for cats. Adding some Omega-3 fatty acids to a cats diet might also help. Remember, before trying these, consult your veterinarian.
In addition, make your bedroom feline-free. This will give you a place in the house where you can go and not be exposed to the allergens.
Consider adding an air purifier with a HEPA filter to help remove airborne allergens. You might also try adding probiotics to your own diet.
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Allergies And The Immune System
But you may be able to help control your allergies by maintaining a strong immune system. A study conducted by the Institut Pasteur and published in Science found that microbiota may have a role in preventing allergies.
As the Institut Pasteur explains, microbiota, also referred to as gut flora, is the microbe that lives in our intestines and involved with various functions, including immune defense. Although scientists have speculated for years that microbiota plays a role in allergies, researchers from the Institut Pasteur believe that this new study demonstrates how a reduced number of microbiota can lower the effectiveness of the immune system and trigger allergies.
In addition to genetics playing a significant role in environmental allergies, some experts believe the use of insecticides, germicides and antibacterial substances has sanitized our environment and lowered the number of microbiota in our intestines, contributing to the rise in allergies. This is referred to as the hygiene hypothesis, which states that a lack of exposure to parasites and infectious agents during childhood can interfere with the development of the immune system and raise the risk of developing allergies, particularly when combined with antibiotic overuse.
Additional immune boosting tactics:
Learn More About Allergy Shots From Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center
For more information about allergy treatment and prevention contact any of the 11 Charlotte, NC offices of the Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center. The offices are staffed allergists that are board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. Get in touch with us today to schedule your appointment.
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Can Allergies Weaken Your Immune System
Summer season is here, and with the heat comes the usual threat of some seasonal allergies. This is also the time when many people are wondering, can allergies weaken your immune system?. A direct answer to this question is yes allergies can indeed weaken your immune system.
Although having allergies doesnt cause you to have a cold or flu, your allergy treatment is a factor that makes you vulnerable to other sicknesses. Sometimes, its hard to differentiate between allergies and sickness. Lets say that youre sneezing, have a runny nose, and a sore throat. You may be mistake these symptoms of allergy for a cold. The only time youll realize that its more than just an allergy is when you suffer from a fever or headache. In addition, a cold may last only for a week or so, while your allergies will stay for as long as you get exposed to the allergen.
However, if youre suffering from allergies and they arent getting effective treatment, it could possibly weaken your immune system, making you more at risk on viruses and other bacterias. This can result in your allergies evolving into a sinus, ear, or infection in your upper respiratory.
What Is The Bodys Immune System
The immune system is responsible for protecting your body from invading viruses, pathogens, fungi, or any other microorganism that may cause your body harm. This system is made up of a complex system of cells and organs that fight off infection. It includes plenty of parts playing different roles, from white blood cells called lymphocytes that confront microorganisms in the bloodstream to entire organs like the spleen or the appendix. Through the immune system, your body is able to protect itself from outside agents.
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Fight Allergies With Meditation
Research has shown that high levels of stress can worsen existing allergies, possibly by upsetting the balance of substances in your body that control immune response. “If you’re under stress, allergies are going to be a bigger problem,” said Joseph Leija, MD, an allergist with Loyola University Health System in Chicago. Some studies have found that meditation has a positive effect on stress levels and can even reduce anxiety and pain. So go ahead and give it a try even if it doesn’t improve your allergy symptoms much, you’ll probably feel more relaxed, and that’s never a bad thing.
Diet And Your Immune System
Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Scientists have long recognized that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. For example, researchers don’t know whether any particular dietary factors, such as processed foods or high simple sugar intake, will have adversely affect immune function. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans.
There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E alter immune responses in animals, as measured in the test tube. However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed.
So, what can you do? If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs maybe, for instance, you don’t like vegetables taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may bring other health benefits, beyond any possibly beneficial effects on the immune system. Taking megadoses of a single vitamin does not. More is not necessarily better.
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So If Allergy Meds Are Interacting With My Immune System Doesnt That Mean It Could Change How My Body Responds
There was one rodent study that suggested antihistamines might prevent an animal from building a tolerance to allergens, but the study was based on venom, not pollen or other common allergens, and again: it was a rodent study. There have been no studies to suggest that humans experience the same issue. Sawlani agrees that OTC meds like antihistamines and nasal sprays, and certainly eye drops, should not have a significant clinical impact on your immune system.
Bassett explains that its probably not your drugs that are to blame. It just takes less grains of pollen to cause a reaction as the season progresses, When your immune system is already primed to react to certain allergens, it takes less of an initial spark to set off the whole cascade of histamines. He advises starting to take your allergy meds a few weeks before the pollen is likely to peak, and suggests seeing an allergist if you want to manage your symptoms better. In-office testing for allergens could help you understand how to decrease your exposureor just tell you which plant or animal to blame when you complain about turning into a snot monster.
How To Stay Safe During The Process Of Building Immunity
While you are trying to build up immunity to cat allergy, there are certain steps that you should take to minimize your exposure to the cat allergens. It is important to keep your home as clean as possible, avoid carpets as they gather most allergens, and avoid taking the cat inside your bedroom until you develop complete immunity to it. You can minimize the production of dander by brushing your cat regularly, using an anti-allergy shampoo to bathe your cat, and trying anti-allergy sprays.
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What Is The Immune System
The purpose of the immune system is to defend itself and keep microorganisms, such as certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi, out of the body, and to destroy any infectious microorganisms that do invade the body. The immune system is made up of a complex and vital network of cells and organs that protect the body from infection.
The organs involved with the immune system are called the lymphoid organs. They affect growth, development, and the release of lymphocytes . The blood vessels and lymphatic vessels are important parts of the lymphoid organs. They carry the lymphocytes to and from different areas in the body. Each lymphoid organ plays a role in the production and activation of lymphocytes.
Lymphoid organs include:
How Are Allergies Linked To Your Immune System
April 30, 2019General
Everyone is always so excited for the arrival of Spring, that is, until the pollen comes along with it. Thats because nearly 50 million people suffer from allergies in the United States, its the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the country, and costs $18 million annually. Thats an incredible amount of money to spend for what is essentially an overreaction on the part of the bodys immune system. Lets explore how your hay fever and the immune system are intertwined, and whether or not you can do anything about it.
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Why Are Allergies Increasing
Allergy is widespread in the UK and worldwide and the number of people affected and experiencing severe allergic symptoms continues to increase, particularly in the developed world. For example, in the UK, cases of food allergies have doubled in the last decade and the number of hospitalisations caused by severe allergic reactions have increased 7-fold . Indeed, in 2014/2015, there were approximately 80,000 A & E attendances for allergies in England. This was an increase of almost 9,000 from the year beforeiv.
Are Allergy Shots Right For You
While we recommend you visit your doctor or allergist to ascertain whether youre a good candidate for allergy shots, these questions will also help you decide:
- What are your allergies? If youre allergic to one or more of the substances listed above, then allergy shots can help lessen your symptoms. However, if you have an allergy to latex, drugs, or certain foods, immunotherapy is not recommended.
- How bad are your allergies? If symptoms persist for longer than three out of 12 months or are impacting your daily activities then allergy shots may provide more relief than other treatment methods.
- What other treatments have you tried? If youre on a prescription antihistamine or another medication from an allergist but these dont help your symptoms, let your allergist know. They could recommend immunotherapy as your next treatment.
- Are you okay with needles? If you have a severe fear of or significant discomfort associated with needles, then you might want to rethink allergy shots. While its true the injections become less frequent as the treatment goes on, it will take a while to get there. You may want to discuss sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT with your allergist. This treatment involves you taking tablets or drops under your tongue instead of receiving injections.
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Future Directions Of Immunotherapy
In addition to altering or encapsulating the antigen, other approaches to improve safety include providing antigen by alternative routes. Topical delivery of peanut extract as immunotherapy has been shown in preclinical studies to modify clinical reactivity to peanut in mice this is seen as a reduction in peanut-induced allergic airway inflammation or peanut-induced eosinophilic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Epicutaneous immunotherapy has not yet been tested in food-induced anaphylaxis models to determine its efficacy, but human trials are underway with this novel approach.
Why Does This Happen
It isnt exactly clear why allergies might develop in adulthood.
Researchers believe that a severe allergic reaction during childhood, even a single episode of symptoms, can increase your likelihood of developing allergies as an adult when youre re-exposed to that allergen at higher levels.
In some cases, these links are easy to see and represent what is known as the atopic march. Children who have food allergies or skin conditions like eczema may develop symptoms of seasonal allergies, like sneezing, itching, and sore throats, as they get older.
Then, symptoms fade for a while. They may return in your 20s, 30s, and 40s when youre exposed to an allergy trigger. Possible adult allergy triggers can include:
- Allergen exposure when your immune system function is reduced. This happens when youre sick, pregnant, or have a condition that compromises your immune system.
- Having little exposure to an allergen as a child. You may not have been exposed to high enough levels to trigger a reaction until adulthood.
- Relocating to a new home or workplace with new allergens. This could include plants and trees that you werent exposed to before.
- Having a pet for the first time.Research suggests this can also happen after a long period of having no pets.
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Tolerogenic Capacity Of The Gastrointestinal Mucosa
The phenomenon of oral tolerance was first described by Wells and Osborne in 1911., They used guinea pigs to show that inclusion of egg white, purified egg allergens, or oats in the diet rendered the animals hyporesponsive to sensitization and anaphylaxis to those proteins. Six decades later, a number of research groups showed that antigen feeding led to the development of suppressor T cells first in the gastrointestinal lymphoid tissue and at later time points in the spleen.- These suppressor cells, when transferred to naive animals, could inhibit IgE responses or delayed-type hypersensitivity responses in the recipient mice. IgE production is highly sensitive to oral tolerance, and feeding of antigen has been shown to prevent symptoms in experimental models of asthma, and food allergy or anaphylaxis.-
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Allergies
The type and severity of allergy symptoms vary from allergy to allergy and person to person. Allergies may show up as itchy eyes, sneezing, a stuffy nose, throat tightness, trouble breathing, vomiting, and even fainting or passing out.
Kids with severe allergies can be at risk for a sudden, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can happen just seconds after being exposed to an allergen or not until a few hours later .
So doctors will want anyone diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of an emergency. Epinephrine works quickly against serious allergy symptoms for example, it reduces swelling and raises low blood pressure.
Airborne Allergy Symptoms
Airborne allergens can cause something known as allergic rhinitis, which usually develops by 10 years of age, reaches its peak in the teens or early twenties, and often disappears between the ages of 40 and 60.
Symptoms can include:
- a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
Allergic reactions can vary. Sometimes, a person can have a mild reaction that affects only one body system, like hives on the skin. Other times, the reaction can be more serious and involve more than one part of the body. A mild reaction in the past does not mean that future reactions will be mild.
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