As our environment has become more toxic, allergic reactions and allergies, in general, are becoming more common. When a reaction occurs, your immune system becomes hypersensitive to normal, everyday, usually harmless conditions and substances.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) described allergies as a condition when the immune system has an exaggerated response to certain substances or allergens. Your immune system (the body’s defense mechanism) is supposed to fight germs. An overly sensitive immune system can cause the body to react to false distress signals from specific allergens that may not bother other people. These include airborne plant and mold spores, high pollen count, pet dander and pollution. When the immune system is triggered, allergy symptoms result from increased levels of histamines which is the body’s dysfunctional way of trying to fight perceived germs and infections.
Allergies may have multiple symptoms. So if you are sneezing, itching, coughing, have a runny nose, difficulty breathing, a rash or maybe your asthma is acting up….think allergy. As Spring approaches many people prepare for allergy season.
People with delicate immune systems often develop extreme symptoms (hives, rashes, congestion, itching, sneezing, runny nose, difficulty in breathing, headaches) as a response, to any number of allergens. In the most severe cases allergic reactions are life-threatening. Treatments usually include medications (both prescription and over-the-counter). Taking a daily dose of an antihistamine may help reduce the symptoms.
Five Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Allergies
- 50 million Americans have allergies. That’s 1 in 5 Americans, with the number increasing rapidly, over the last three decades. Medical research pegs the incidence of allergies is pretty evenly spread across all 50 states. World-wide allergies are growing at an increased rate, especially in urban settings.
- It is possible to sneeze and itch at the same time. Multiple concurrent symptoms are common for chronic allergy sufferers or in the case of a severe allergic reaction. They may find themselves sneezing and itching, at the same time.
- About 90 percent of all food allergies come from eight common foods. “Medical News Today” lists peanuts, milk, eggs, other nuts, fish, shellfish, soy products, and wheat as the source of most food allergies.
- Stress can make your allergy symptoms much worse. Recent clinical studies published in the April 2014, issue of “Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology” the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, explains that if you have a lot of stress in your life and you suffer from allergies, you will have symptoms more often in the form of allergy flare-ups. The more stress the more often you may have problems with your allergies and the more severe those symptoms will be.
- Vitamin D is the best treatment for hives. Hives are a chronic skin allergic reaction which leaves the sufferer with red, itching and swelling skin welts, that could occur every day and have been known to last for years. University of Nebraska Medical Center researchers, have shown that vitamin D therapy provides a lot of relief for hives, a condition, until recently, believed to have no cure and very limited treatment alternatives.
Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH), 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892 Online at http://www.nih.gov/ March 6, 2014