Types of Allergies and How They Are Treated
Although most people think of allergies as seasonal, there are actually many different types of allergies. As many as 50 million Americans have some type of allergy. Let’s take a look at some allergens and the reactions they can cause.
Seasonal allergies are often caused by the pollen released by flowers, grass, and trees. While some people are allergic to tree pollen, which is in the air in spring, others are allergic to grass pollen, which is more of a problem in the summer. Other people are allergic to weed pollen, which is more common during the fall months. Seasonal allergy symptoms include itchy throats; red, itchy, watery eyes; runny or stuffy nose; sneezing; and wheezing or coughing. Treatments can include over-the-counter medications; prescription medications; and allergy shots.
Food allergies affect about four to six percent of children and about four percent of adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While food allergies are more common in babies and children, they can appear at any age and can even start after eating foods for years without any problems. Symptoms of food allergies can include anaphylaxis, dizziness, pale or blue coloring of the skin, weak pulse, swelling tongue, trouble swallowing, shock or circulatory problems, repetitive cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, hives, and stomach cramps. While avoiding allergens is the best way to stay healthy, you can also speak to an allergist, dietitian, or nutritionist to help avoid them.
Bumps, itching, redness, and other skin conditions are very common with skin allergies. These rashes can be caused by a variety of different things including plants like poison ivy, allergic reactions to medications and food, and illnesses like the measles or chickenpox. Two of the most common allergic reactions are eczema and hives. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, commonly appears as dry, red, irritated, and itchy skin. Hives are red bumps or welts that appear on the body. Acute urticaria (hives) can last for up to six weeks, while chronic urticaria can persist beyond six weeks. There is also a condition called contact dermatitis, which is a reaction that appears when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or allergen. Creams or medications can be used to relieve the symptoms of these allergic reactions.
People with pet allergies are often allergic to pet dander in the air. Pet allergy sufferers often experience sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, facial pain, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, watery and itchy eyes, and skin rashes or hives. These symptoms can often be treated or managed by avoiding animals, with nasal sprays, antihistamines, and bronchodilators; and with allergy shots.
Insect stings come from honey bees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, and fire ants. When individuals are stung, they receive an allergic reaction from the venom that is injected into the skin. Symptoms of these allergic reactions include pain, redness, swelling, flushing, hives, itching, and anaphylaxis. Treatment includes avoiding the insects, an injection of epinephrine, or an allergy shot.
These are just some of the most popular allergies that people suffer from. If you or someone in your family is suffering from an allergic reaction, you should see your doctor right away.
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