Allergy reactions and risks! Types of allergies and how to know if they’re dangerous.


Allergies are a body’s version of a temper tantrum — a physical over reaction to something that for other people just isn’t that bad.

Allergies are common — 30 percent of Americans are affected by them. And we often inherit allergies from our parents.

The most common types of allergy triggers are:

  • Pollen

  • Dust mites

  • Mold

  • Animal dander

  • Insect stings

  • Latex

  • Certain foods and medications

What happens during an allergic reaction?

Allergen

When you come in contact with an allergen, your immune system identifies it as an invader.

Antibodies

Your immune system then overreacts by producing antibodies.

Histamines

These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals (histamines), causing an allergic reaction. This reaction usually causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin.

Knowing the difference between a mild and severe reaction

A person’s allergic reaction can be mild (feeling a bit under the weather) or stronger (feeling seriously ill). Most reactions go away once you get out of range of the problem. But sometimes an allergen can cause a severe, life-threatening response called anaphylaxis (an-uh- l-ax-iss). Anaphylaxis (sometimes called anaphylactic shock) needs an immediate effective treatment, epinephrine by injection, or emergency room care. These reactions can be dangerous or even cause death.

Symptoms of a mild reaction:

  • Watery, runny eyes

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Nasal congestion

  • An itchy rash or hives

Symptoms of a severe, anaphylaxis reaction:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Coughing or wheezing

  • Sneezing

  • Tightness in the lungs

  • Hoarseness

  • Chest pain

  • Low blood pressure

  • Weak, rapid pulse

  • Dizziness or passing out

  • Pale or flushed skin

  • Hives or welts

  • Swelling of the throat, face, lips or tongue } Abdominal pain

  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

If you have other health problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), allergies can also make it harder to keep them under control. Luckily, most people can get a handle on their allergies by staying away from triggers, or with shots or medicine. Contact a doctor if you need assistance with allergy treatment and management.

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