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 is also a link between asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis. Therefore, getting good control of allergic rhinitis is crucial for maintaining good control of asthma.
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. Your doctor can help you come up with the right plan to control allergies so they dont affect your ability to live your normal life.
What Happens When You Have An Allergic Reaction
When a person who is allergic to a particular allergen comes into contact with it, an allergic reaction occurs:
- When the allergen enters the body, it triggers an antibody response.
- The antibodies attach themselves to mast cells.
- When the pollen comes into contact with the antibodies, the mast cells respond by releasing histamine.
- When the release of histamine is due to an allergen, the resulting inflammation is irritating and uncomfortable.
Similar reactions can occur to some chemicals and food additives. However if they do not involve the immune system, they are known as adverse reactions, not allergy.
Identify The Early Signs Of Possible Breathing Allergies
Breathing allergies affect your daily life, but early detection can limit the impact and help you breathe easy. Learning the early signs and symptoms of an allergy to mold, dust, pollen or other airborne irritants helps you recognize when to call an experienced pulmonary doctor for testing and treatment.
The Development Of Respiratory Allergies
Respiratory allergies develop when your body reacts to specific irritants in the air. Not everyone reacts the same way to the same substances. Some common triggers for breathing-related allergies include mold, dust mites, pollen and pet dander.
Sometimes allergy symptoms are seasonal, so you may notice that they only develop at certain times of year. Situational allergies might develop only when youre in the presence of the trigger, so you may notice breathing problems when around pets, for example, but the symptoms go away once you leave the room or the pet owners home.
Your allergy could be quite different from a friends allergic reaction, so dont rely on someone elses symptoms to diagnose or rule out your own allergies. Some people have seasonal allergies in the fall or spring, while others might experience allergy symptoms year-round. Symptoms might exist at a consistent low level throughout the day or get worse when you go outside or move indoors, depending on the particular allergen setting off a reaction.
Common Early Symptoms Of Breathing Allergies
Differentiating The Symptoms Of Allergies And Asthma
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What Happens At Your Appointment
A GP may arrange some allergy tests or refer you to a specialist allergy clinic to have them.
Tests you may have include:
- a skin prick or patch test where a small amount of the allergen is put on your skin to see if it reacts
- blood tests to check for allergens that may be causing your symptoms
- a special diet where you avoid or eat less of a food you might be allergic to, to see if your symptoms get better
Causes Of Seasonal Allergies
Hay fever happens when your immune system identifies an airborne substance thats usually harmless as dangerous. It responds to that substance, or allergen, by releasing histamines and other chemicals into your bloodstream. Those chemicals produce the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Common triggers of hay fever vary from one season to another.
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Mild And Severe Reactions
Symptoms can involve just one area of the body, or more than one area.
- A mild reaction involves a mild symptom that affects only one area of the body.
- A reaction that involves any severe symptom is a severe reaction.
- A reaction that involves mild symptoms in more than one body area is also a severe reaction.
Severe reactions can quickly progress to anaphylaxis, a condition that can be life-threatening. For this reason, severe reactions must be treated with epinephrine.
What Is An Allergic Reaction
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.
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How Do You Treat A Skin Rash Caused By An Allergic Reaction
The best treatment for an allergy-induced skin rash depends on the underlying reaction.
If your rash is triggered by a mild food allergy, oral medications called antihistamines can do the trick. These drugs, which are available over the counter or with a prescription, can ease your rash by reducing histamine levels. For more severe food allergies, youll need an emergency injection of epinephrine. You can get this in the form of an autoinjector device, like an EpiPen, per the Mayo Clinic.
For allergic contact dermatitis, topical corticosteroid creams, such as OTC or prescription-strength hydrocortisone, can help the rash heal. Youll likely need to apply the cream once or twice daily for two to four weeks. If you have severe contact dermatitis, your doctor might recommend antihistamines, oral corticosteroids, and possibly antibiotics to prevent or treat skin infections. In either case, you can stave off allergy-induced rashes by avoiding the allergens in question. If youre not sure what those are, it might be time to pencil in an appointment with your primary care physician. Depending on your symptoms, they may suggest you see a dermatologist, allergist, or both. With their help youll be able to determine whats causing your symptomsand ultimately keep your skin healthy.
Are There Ways To Reduce Your Allergy Exposure
Here are several ways to minimize your exposure to seasonal allergies:
- Pay attention to daily pollen and mold spore levels, so you can avoid outdoor activities as much as possible when counts are high. To check out the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunologys allergen tracker, .
- Begin taking medications before the start of the allergy seasonwhen pollen, grass, ragweed, or mold counts soar.
- Shut the windows and doors in your home, office, and car to seal out pollen.
- Wear a hat when outdoors or wash your hair before bed to keep pollen off your pillow and away from your face.
- Change your clothes after spending time outdoors to minimize your exposure to pollen. Studies show that half of the pollen that accumulates on clothing remains even if you try to shake or brush it off before you go indoors.
- Avoid mowing the grass or raking moldy leaves if those are your triggers, or wear a mask when doing so.
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Allergy Symptoms Vs Covid
Throughout the US, pollen has started to bloom and cause typical symptoms in those with allergies right as we have seen the spread of the coronavirus . Allergies typically cause nasal symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus congestion but do not usually result in a fever, as is found with coronavirus or the flu. While some symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with allergies, there are several differences.
Its important to note that this article is not intended to provide comprehensive medical advice. If you have concerns, please always contact your doctor and use general best practices.
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.
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Explore Common Allergy Types And Related Conditions
Anaphylaxis is a rare, but serious, life-threatening allergic reaction. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:
Â· Loss of consciousness Â· A drop in blood pressure Â· Severe shortness of breath
Anyone experiencing anaphylaxis symptoms should call his or her local emergency number immediately.
A blood testâtogether with an allergy-focused medical historyâmay help identify underlying allergen triggers.
The symptoms of allergic diseases are numerous and may also be attributable to more than one allergy, as up to 80 percent of allergic patients are sensitized to more than one allergen.5
Deterrence And Patient Education
Patients should receive education about anaphylaxis and the emergent treatment needed if recurrence happens. If the causative agent or allergen is known, the patient should be informed as to what it was and told to avoid future exposure. The patient should have training in the use of an epinephrine pen injector and the need to report to the emergency department as soon as possible after exposure. The patient should be made aware of early signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis itching, redness of the skin, hives, runny nose, and advance symptoms trouble breathing, wheezing, vomiting, swelling of the throat and esophagus, diarrhea, and feeling dizzy passing out. The patient may obtain a referral to an allergist/immunologist for further evaluation and treatment. Patients with high sensitivities such as the peanut or legume allergies need education on reading labels of food products. They should recommend allergy bracelets/rescue kits to patients with severe events. The rescue kit usually contains an epinephrine injector device and oral or injectable antihistamine.
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What Should You Do If You Dont Know The Cause Of Your Allergy Symptoms
One of the most important ways to manage allergy symptoms is to avoid triggers. So, what do you do if you dont know your trigger?
- Keep a symptom diary detail when and where you experience symptoms, any new products you have used, foods eaten, etc.
- Try an over-the-counter allergy medicine
- For severe symptoms make an appointment with a doctor for testing, diagnosis, and to develop a treatment plan.
Other Than Oral Ingestion
Sensitization can occur through the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract and possibly the skin. Damage to the skin in conditions such as eczema has been proposed as a risk factor for sensitization.
While the most obvious route for an allergic exposure is oral ingestion, some reactions are possible through external exposure. Peanut allergies are much more common in adults who had oozing and crusted skin rashes as infants. Airborne particles in a farm- or factory-scale peanut shelling or crushing environment, or from cooking, can produce respiratory effects in exposed allergic individuals. For seafood allergy, an industry review estimated that 28.5 million people worldwide were engaged in some aspect of the seafood industry: fishing, aquaculture, processing and industrial cooking. Exposure to fish allergenic proteins includes inhalation of wet from fresh fish handling, inhalation of dry aerosols from fishmeal processing, and dermal contact through skin breaks and cuts. Respiratory allergies are an occupational disease that develop in food service workers working with baked goods, known as “bakers asthma”). Previous studies detected 40 allergens from wheat some cross-reacted with rye proteins and a few cross-reacted with grass pollens.
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Mild And Severe Symptoms
- Nose: itchy or runny nose, sneezing
- Mouth: itchy mouth
- Skin: a few hives, mild itch
- Gut: mild nausea or discomfort
Severe symptoms include:
- Lung: shortness of breath, wheezing, repetitive cough
- Heart: pale, blue, faint, weak pulse, dizzy
- Throat: tight, hoarse, trouble breathing/swallowing
- Mouth: significant swelling of the tongue or lips
- Skin: many hives over body, widespread redness
- Gut: repetitive vomiting or severe diarrhea
- Psychological: feeling something bad is about to happen, anxiety, confusion
Why Do Allergic Reactions Sometimes Manifest As Skin Rashes
Heres the thing: The link between allergies and skin rashes depends on the type of allergic reaction youre dealing with. Different allergens cause symptoms in different ways.
Sometimes, allergy-induced skin rashes are caused by eating certain foods, Benjamin Ungar, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. This involves a classic immediate allergic reaction.
A quick explainer: Your immune systems job is to protect you from potentially harmful microorganisms its your bodys first line of defense. But sometimes, those immune cells mistake typically benign substances, like food, as a threat. This sparks a false alarm, causing those cells to attack the invaders and produce antibodies called immunoglobulin , according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology . These antibodies trigger the release of chemicals, one of which is called histamine, causing allergy symptoms that develop soon after eating the offending food, according to a 2021 study published in Cells.1 Histamine can affect many areas of the body, including the lungs, digestive tract, heart, and skin. Most people with food allergies will experience multiple symptoms, but when hives are involved , its because histamine is released in the skin cells, which triggers a chain reaction that ultimately ends with inflammation and swelling.
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What Are The Common Allergy
A very large number of substances can act as allergens. Most are proteins of insect, plant, or animal origin, but small chemical molecules can also cause allergy. Examples of common allergens are pollens, mold spores, dust mites, shed skin cells , insect proteins such as flea saliva, and some medications.
What Is Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is potentially life-threatening, and always requires an immediate emergency response. If you or your child have had anaphylaxis, this factsheet will help you understand more about the condition: what anaphylaxis is, what causes it, the treatment and what to do in an emergency.
If you have experienced an allergic reaction in the past, you may be at risk of anaphylaxis even if you have not had anaphylaxis before. We advise that you see your GP they can refer you to an allergy clinic if needed.
- Swelling of the skin anywhere on the body .
- Stomach pain, feeling sick and vomiting.
If the person doesnt have any of the key ABC symptoms, the allergic reaction is probably less serious. But even then, you should watch carefully in case ABC symptoms develop.
To be prepared and to help you and those around you know what to do in an emergency, its important to have an allergy action plan.
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What Is An Allergy
An allergy is a hypersensitivity immune response to normally harmless substances, such as pollens or foods. For most people, these substancesâalso called allergensâpose no problem. In allergic individuals, however, the immune system identifies them as a threat and produces an inappropriate response.1 Hundreds of ordinary substances may trigger an allergic reaction.
When someone is exposed to an allergen and he or she becomes sensitized, the body then produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E . The next time the person encounters the same allergen, the allergen binds to the IgE antibodies and causes the mast cell to release histamine and other chemicals. This reaction causes inflammation and triggers allergy symptoms that can range from mild to severe, affecting the skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, and/or respiratory tract.
What Is Inhalant Allergy And How Is It Treated
The term inhalant allergy in the dog is often used as a synonym for atopy. The main inhalant allergens are tree pollens , grass pollens, weed pollens , molds, mildew, and house dust mites. Many of these allergies occur seasonally, such as ragweed, cedar, and grass pollens. However, others such as molds, mildew, and house dust mites occur year-round. When humans inhale these allergens, the resulting allergy primarily manifests with upper respiratory signs: runny eyes, runny nose, and sneezing . Although sometimes the symptoms of allergies include allergic rhinitis or bronchitis, in most dogs, inhalant allergy manifests with itchy skin . Due to these clinical signs, the condition is also called inhalant allergic dermatitis. The dog may rub its face, lick its feet and scratch the axillae .
“Symptoms of atopy can be controlled but a permanent cure is not usually possible.”
Most dogs that have inhalant allergy start showing signs between one and three years of age. Affected dogs will often react to several allergens and often experience concurrent flea or food allergies. If the offending allergens can be identified by intradermal skin tests or blood tests, the dog should be protected from exposure to them as much as possible. Because most of these allergens are environmental, this is difficult and recurrent bouts are likely. Symptoms of atopy can be controlled but a permanent cure is not usually possible.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Anaphylaxis
Symptoms of anaphylaxis can develop rapidly after exposure to an allergen, usually reaching peak severity within 5 to 30 minutes, but this may be delayed up to 2 hours. Sometimes, a second phase reaction can occur 6-36 hours after the initial anaphylactic reaction in as many as 20% of individuals. Biphasic reactions have been reported to occur even as far out as 72 hours after the initial reaction, though this is rare.
Anaphylaxis signs and symptoms that may occur alone or in any combination include:
- Mouth: swelling of the lips, tongues, or palate
- Eyes/Nose: runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, watery red eyes, itchy eyes, swollen eyes
- Skin: hives or other rash, redness/flushing, itching, swelling
- Gut: abdominal pain , vomiting, diarrhea, nausea
- Throat: hoarseness, tightening of throat, difficulty swallowing, hacking cough, stridor
- Lungs: shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, chest pain, tightness
- Mental: anxiety, panic, sense of doom
- Circulation/Heart: chest pain, low blood pressure, weak pulse, shock, pale blue color, dizziness or fainting, lethargy
Symptoms of the throat, lungs, and heart are all immediate and potentially life-threatening. When you, or someone you know, begin to experience symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.