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What Does Allergies Do To Your Body

Know Where To Go For Allergy Care: Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center

Allergies can begin in childhood, adulthood and anytime in between. If youre dealing with a new or persistent case of allergies, we encourage you to reach out to us at Carolina Asthma & Allergy. We serve patients throughout North and South Carolina and work with traditional allergy treatment methods as well as allergy shots and allergy drops.

Our board-certified doctors are experts in food allergies, asthma, insect bite allergies and other uncommon, yet often serious allergies that require specialized care. We even offer anaphylaxis prevention and treatment, immunotherapy care and treatments for the lungs, skin, throat, nose, ears, and eyes. To set up your appointment today, contact us today!

 

Living With Allergic Rhinitis

Living with the symptoms of allergic rhinitis can affect your daily life. Nasal symptoms can be worse when lying down. This can disturb your ability to sleep well. Fatigue and headaches can affect your ability to function at school and work. There are many medicines and treatments that can help you manage your symptoms. Talk to your doctor as soon as you feel that your symptoms are getting worse or are not easy to control. He or she can help you come up with the right plan to control them so they dont affect your ability to live your normal life.

How Long Does A Food Allergy Last In Your System

According to statistics, at least one out of 5 people suffer from some type of allergies, such as food allergy, allergy to dust and pollens, allergy to animals and insects, and its no surprise that most of us have had an allergic reaction especially related to food, but how long does a food allergy last in your system? How long does it take for the allergens to get out of your system and for your physique to function normally?

What Is An Asthma Attack

An asthma attack is an exacerbation of asthma symptoms, during which a patients inflamed bronchial tubes prevent them from moving air in and out of their lungs. This episode may also be referred to as an asthma flareup. Regardless of what you call it, the symptoms are the same. Asthma attacks sometimes go on for several minutes at a time. If you have a more serious case of asthma or youve been consistently exposed to an asthma trigger, then the attack can continue for hours. At worst, some attacks can endure for days.

See related: How to Help a Person Having an Asthma Attack

You may have had asthma since childhood. Symptoms typically manifest in children five or younger. Sometimes laughing or crying can lead to an asthma attack in children, while other times its playing, excessive running, cold air and other weather shifts, scents such as perfume or smoke, and allergens such as pollen, dust mites or pet dander. Even being sick with a cold can cause asthma attacks.

In other instances, your job could trigger your feelings of breathlessness. This is known as occupational asthma, in which asthma attacks occur from breathing in dust, gases, fumes or other irritants. Allergic asthma can be exacerbated by said allergen, be that pollen or pet dander.

What Is An Allergic Reaction

Hong Kong Institute of Allergy

An allergic reaction is the way your body responds to the allergen. A chain of events occur that result in an allergic reaction.

If you are prone to allergies, the first time youre exposed to a specific allergen , your body responds by producing allergic antibodies. The job of these antibodies is to find the allergens and help remove them from your system. As a result, a chemical called histamine is released and causes symptoms of allergies.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Could anything else, such as a cold or the flu, be causing my symptoms?
  • How do I figure out what Im allergic to?
  • Is my allergy seasonal?
  • I am allergic to _____. Am I at risk for any other allergies?
  • What changes can I make at home to relieve my symptoms?
  • Will any over-the counter medicines relieve my symptoms?
  • What should I do if my symptoms get worse or dont respond to the treatment youve prescribed?
  • Do I need to see an allergy specialist ?

Treatment For Food Allergies

The main way to deal with food allergies is to avoid them. For highly allergic people, even tiny amounts of an allergen can trigger a reaction. Less-sensitive people may be able to have small amounts of a food that they’re allergic to.

Once you’ve identified the food, you have to stop eating it. That may mean reading long, detailed ingredient lists because many allergy-triggering foods are in things you wouldn’t expect to find them in. Peanuts, for example, may be included for protein, and eggs are in some salad dressings. At restaurants, you might have to ask about the ingredients that are in specific dishes or in the kitchen.

Even people who are very careful can make a mistake, so if you have severe food allergies, you must be prepared to treat an accidental exposure. If you’ve had anaphylactic reactions to a food, you should wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. And you should carry two auto-injectors of epinephrine and be ready to use them if you think a reaction is starting. Mild symptoms such as tingling in your mouth and throat or an upset stomach might not be an allergic reaction, but you should still give yourself an injection. It won’t hurt, and it could save your life. Then call 911 or get a ride to the emergency room.

Medications can help relieve food allergy symptoms that aren’t part of an anaphylactic reaction:

When Should I Contact My Healthcare Provider

  • You think you are having an allergic reaction. Contact your healthcare provider before you take another dose of your antibiotic.
  • You have a rash.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a sore throat or swollen glands. You will feel hard lumps when you touch your throat if your glands are swollen.
  • Your skin itches and becomes red when you are in sunlight.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, allergy, or care.

How Is An Allergic Reaction Treated

If you experience an allergic reaction and you dont know whats causing it, you may need to see a doctor to determine which substances youre allergic to. If you have a known allergy and experience symptoms, you may not need to seek medical care if your symptoms are mild.

In most cases, over-the-counter antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine , can be effective in controlling mild allergic reactions.

Cross Reactivity And Oral Allergy Syndrome

When you have a life-threatening allergic reaction to a certain food, your doctor will probably recommend that you avoid similar foods, too. For example, if you react to shrimp, you’re probably allergic to other shellfish like crab, lobster, and crayfish. This is called cross-reactivity.

Another example of cross-reactivity is oral allergy syndrome. It happens in people who are highly sensitive to ragweed. During ragweed season, when they try to eat melons, especially cantaloupe, their mouths may itch. Similarly, people who have severe birch pollen allergy may also react to apple peels.

How To Handle Anaphylactic Shock

More severe allergy attacks will not abate with home remedies, and its essential that you quickly recognize more serious symptoms, like abdominal cramps and breathing problems. What should you do in the case of anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock? 

If you are alone, immediately call 911. Anaphylactic shock happens quickly, and your throat could swell and cut off your supply of oxygen within minutes, causing permanent and serious damage. If you know you are at risk for severe allergic reactions, always carry an Epinephrine pen, or two, with you at all times. Epinephrine quickly reduces and reverses anaphylactic symptoms as its comprised of adrenaline. You can never predict when a bee will sting you or a food youre allergic to wind up on your plate, so take the appropriate steps to protect yourself. You should also make your close friends and family aware of your allergy, so that they can also be on the lookout for severe symptoms and be ready to take the appropriate steps if youre unable to. 

Fight Allergies With A Laugh

The results aren’t definitive more studies need to be done but research indicates that humor may increase immune function by increasing levels of immunoglobulin A , a protein found in your eyes, ears, mouth, throat, and nose that protects against infection. So go ahead and rent a funny movie or visit a comedy club with friends anything that gives you the giggles may help you feel better.

How Do Food Allergies Affect Digestion

Infographic: Is it a Cold or Allergies?

True food allergies are relatively rare, but food sensitivities and celiac disease are on the rise.

Thinkstock

Everyday Health: The rates of food allergies continue to rise. What are the most common food allergies, and how do they affect digestion?

Mark Babyatsky, MD

Food allergies are estimated to affect 6 to 8 percent of children in the United States and 3 to 4 percent of adults. Many children who demonstrate allergy to milk protein outgrow them. In adults, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and egg are the most common. Of note, those with peanut and tree nut allergies are unlikely to outgrow them, including the recently increasingly prevalent sesame allergy. Symptoms are usually acute, but can be chronic and include the gamut of allergic responses in the entire body. In the digestive tract, symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, odynophagia , diarrhea, or any combination of these symptoms.

Kenneth Brown, MD

More commonly, people have intolerances to foods, rather than allergies. An example of food intolerance is when someone has bloating and diarrhea after consuming lactose. These people have low levels of the enzyme lactase, which prevents the lactose sugar from being broken down.

Lisa Ganjhu, DO

Lisa Pichney, MD

Seth Rosen, MD

Sutha Sachar, MD

Albert Snow, ND

AA Starpoli, MD

William Chey, MD

Jacqueline Wolf, MD

Take The Right Medication

Talk with your doctor about which medications are best for your symptoms and your body.  It is important to take the proper medicine for maximum results.

 

*Warning: Use for more than 3 consecutive days can result in rebound effect which increases swelling and stuffiness in nasal passages.  Combined antihistamine/decongestants often contain ibuprofen or aspirin which can cause asthma episodes.

 

**Warning: The potential for side effects should be discussed with your doctor.

 

Severe Food Allergy In Children

Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, are common, although deaths from anaphylaxis are rare. Most schools and childcare services across Australia are required to have an anaphylaxis management policy in place.Banning particular foods is not recommended as it can create a sense of complacency and is difficult to monitor and enforce. A better approach is to educate staff, students and the community about the risks associated with anaphylaxis and put strategies in place to minimise exposure to known allergens. 

How Does A Person Become Allergic

Allergens can be inhaled, ingested, or enter through the skin. Common allergic reactions, such as hay fever, certain types of asthma, and hives are linked to an antibody produced by the body called immunoglobulin E . Each IgE antibody can be very specific, reacting against certain pollens and other allergens. In other words, a person can be allergic to one type of pollen, but not another. When a susceptible person is exposed to an allergen, the body starts producing a large quantity of similar IgE antibodies. The next exposure to the same allergen may result in an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction will vary depending on the type and amount of allergen encountered and the manner in which the body’s immune system reacts to that allergen.

Allergies can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. Generally, allergies are more common in children. However, a first-time occurrence can happen at any age, or recur after many years of remission. Hormones, stress, smoke, perfume, or environmental irritants may also play a role in the development or severity of allergies.

Natural Allergy Relief Options

What helps relieve allergies fast? Watching what you eat, getting plenty of fresh air and drinking enough water are some of the natural remedies that can relieve allergies by improving functions of the immune system.

It may take several weeks for your symptoms to subside, but they are likely to be better kept under control when you tackle the root causes. Here are nine ways to get natural allergy relief.

1. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory, Alkaline Diet

First and foremost, start eating an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce your risk for allergies and many other health problems. Caring for your body with nutrient-dense foods gives your immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can fight off common allergies in your environment.

Here are some of the best foods and ingredients to incorporate into your diet to help you beat allergies:

Although its not abundant in many foods, vitamin D is also important for immune function and may help manage allergy symptoms. In fact, certain studies have shown that children who live farther from the equator are more likely to develop allergies and suffer higher rates of hospital admissions due to allergic reactions.

You can get enough vitamin D by spending about 15 minutes in the sun most days without sunscreen and by eating foods like whole milk and some mushrooms for natural allergy relief.

2. Local Raw Honey

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

4. Quercetin

5. Neti Pot

6. Stinging Nettle

  • Ginger
  • Horehound

8. Probiotics

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:

  • Adenoids

  • Appendix

  • Blood vessels

  • Bone marrow

  • Lymph nodes

  • Lymphatic vessels

  • Peyer’s patches

  • Spleen

  • Thymus

  • Tonsils

What To Look For

Anallergic reaction to a body wash is different from one you may experience inreaction to another beauty product. A reaction to a beauty product will usuallybe limited to a red, itchy rash at the site of the exposure. But since a bodywash is used all over and then rinsed off, its more likely to present as apatchy and diffused rash.

Allergies are a funny thing. They can develop over time, which means that you could have an allergic reaction to your body wash even if youve been using the same one for years. If your skin suddenly becomes inflamed, pink, scaly, and itchy all over and youve never been diagnosed with an inflammation-based skin condition like eczema, you might be allergic to your body wash. Or, more specifically, an ingredient in your soap.

Thebest way to confirm that is to visit a dermatologist and get patch-tested. Thedermatologist may be able to narrow it down to your body wash based on thedistribution and timing of your rash and the inclusion of any common allergenson the ingredients list. If trial and error doesnt work, they may proceed topatch testing, which would entail placing a bunch of allergens on your back andseeing how the skin reacts to each spot after a couple of days.

Symptoms Of Food Allergy And Intolerance

It can be difficult to tell the difference between the symptoms of food allergy and food intolerance. Usually, symptoms caused by food allergy develop very soon after consuming the food. While symptoms caused by food intolerance can be immediate, they may also take 12 to 24 hours to develop.Food intolerance reactions are usually related to the amount of the food consumed. They may not occur until a certain amount of the food is eaten, but this amount varies for each person.The symptoms of food allergy and intolerance can also be caused by other conditions, so it is important to see your doctor for a medical diagnosis. 

Symptoms Of Food Intolerance

HEALTH TIPS: Do your Body make Weird Noises

Symptoms of food intolerance can include: 

  • nervousness
  • burning sensations on the skin
  • tightness across the face and chest
  • breathing problems asthma-like symptoms 
  • persistent dizziness or collapse
  • becoming pale and floppy .

Several factors can influence the severity of anaphylaxis, including exercise, heat, alcohol, the amount of food eaten, and how food is prepared and consumed.To prevent severe injury or death, a person with anaphylaxis requires an injection of adrenaline . People who are considered by their doctor to be at risk of anaphylaxis are prescribed an autoinjector which contains a single fixed dose of adrenaline. They are designed to be used by non-medical people and should be administered into the outer mid-thigh muscle in the event of a severe allergic reaction. Adrenaline autoinjectors are also available directly from a pharmacy. 

How Are Allergies Diagnosed

If you think you have allergies, don’t wait to see if your symptoms go away. When your symptoms last longer than a week or two and tend to come back, make an appointment with an allergy/immunology specialist.

Allergy skin testing may be used to identify the allergens that are causing your allergy symptoms. The test is performed by pricking your skin with an extract of an allergen, and then checking your skins reaction.

If a skin test cant be performed, blood work may be obtained. This test is not as sensitive as a skin test. The test evaluates the number of antibodies produced by your immune system. Higher levels of certain antibodies suggest possible allergy to that allergen.

Other types of allergy testing are available too.

What Are Adult Onset Allergies

Adult-onset allergies are those allergy symptoms that manifest later in life. This could be anywhere from younger adulthood, such as in a persons 20s, to a persons senior years, when they are 70 or 80 years old. Typically, if you lived through your 20s and your 30s without any new allergies, the chances of getting adult-onset allergies diminishes.

The strangest part about adult-onset allergies is that you can wake up today irritated by an allergen that didnt bother you yesterday. You could have been in contact with said allergen every single day for years with no adverse effects. Now, you have a runny nose, itching eyes and uncontrollable sneezing around that allergen.

               See related: How to Keep Your Charlotte Seasonal Allergies in Check

Fight Allergies With A Pro

Logging hours at the gym and eating your vegetables aren’t going to cure or completely prevent seasonal allergies. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can certainly minimize the effects of allergy symptoms though, as well as a host of other conditions. “If someone is in great shape, exercises, and does all these great things, they can withstand the impact of allergies better than someone who’s got all kinds of other problems,” Dr. Mardiney noted. One word of caution, though: If you are sensitive to outdoor allergens like pollen, you may want to take your exercise routine indoors when levels are at their highest, or take your allergy medication before you start out.

How To Manage An Allergy

In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible.

For example, if you have a food allergy, you should check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.

There are also several medicines available to help control symptoms of allergic reactions, including:

  • antihistamines  these can be taken when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
  • decongestants  tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids that can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
  • lotions and creams, such as moisturising creams   these can reduce skin redness and itchiness
  • steroid medicines  sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets that can help reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction

For some people with very severe allergies, a treatment called immunotherapy may be recommended.

This involves being exposed to the allergen in a controlled way over a number of years so your body gets used to it and does not react to it so severely.

Allergies And Chronic Fatigue

It is not uncommon for a person who suffers from allergies to also suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome . Symptoms of CFS include extreme exhaustion that does not have any known cause. The first step is to talk to your doctor so they can assess for potential illnesses. If they cannot find the cause, then your next step should be to take to an allergist.

Why? Because it is often the case that a person with CFS has an over-sensitive immune system. When you consider that allergies can be caused by over-sensitive immune systems, it is easy to see that why the conditions often exist together. It is often the case that by treating allergies, fatigue can be reduced. Other things can affect both fatigue and allergies, such as mold spores and other environmental irritants.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Allergies

Allergic reactions can be mild, like a runny nose, or they can be serious, like difficulty breathing .

Some types of allergies cause multiple symptoms. And in rare cases, an allergic reaction can become very severe this is called anaphylaxis . Signs of anaphylaxis include trouble breathing or swallowing; swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat or other parts of the body; and dizziness or loss of consciousness.

Anaphylaxis usually happens minutes after exposure to a trigger, such as a peanut, but some reactions can be delayed by as long as 4 hours. Luckily, anaphylactic reactions don’t happen often and can be treated successfully.

Preventing Food Allergy In Children

Allergy prevention in children is an active area of research. Findings to date indicate that: 

  • prenatal there is no conclusive evidence that avoiding allergens in pregnancy will help prevent allergies in your child
  • postnatal exclusive breastfeeding during the first four to six months appears to protect against the development of allergies in early childhood.
  • introducing solid foods around six months is recommended, preferably while continuing to breastfeed
  • breastfeeding avoidance of a food by a woman while breastfeeding is not recommended 
  • soymilk formula studies have shown that using soymilk formula does not prevent the development of allergies in children
  • partially hydrolysed cows milk-based formula is not recommended to prevent the development of food allergy.

Natural Remedies For Allergies

Food Allergies

Many natural remedies and supplements are marketed as a treatment and even a way to prevent allergies. Discuss these with your doctor before trying them. Some natural treatments may actually contain other allergens and make your symptoms worse.

For example, some dried teas use flowers and plants that are closely related to plants that might be causing you serious sneezing. The same is true for essential oils. Some people use these oils to relieve common symptoms of allergies, but essential oils still contain ingredients that can cause allergies.

What To Do About It

Unfortunately,correcting the matter isnt as simple as singling out a couple troublesomeingredients because the list of ones that could potentially cause an allergicreaction is pretty long. There are, however, a few other important things onthe label you can home in on. The first is fragrance. Fragrances are the mostcommon source of contact dermatitis, according to clinical studies.

Butthe words fragrance and parfum are blanket terms cosmetics companies forthousands of undisclosed chemicals that can cause a range of skin reactions.Still, avoiding fragrances in skin-care products never hurts. Even naturalfragrances, such as essential oils and plant extracts, can cause an allergicreaction.

Alsotry to avoid body washes that contain high levels of alcohol, which can damageyour skins barrier protection and make oily skin worse because your skinovercompensates from being stripped of oil. It also promotes redness andirritation.

If, even after replacing your body wash, youre still experiencing skin irritation, consult a dermatologist.

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