ZOOM+Care DIY Health Articles
Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Allergies
Symptoms of Allergies
Allergies are your body’s reaction to irritants like pollen, which is among the most common causes of allergies in America.
If you inhale or touch something your body considers a threat, your immune system will treat the foreign substance like a hostile invasion and deploy histamines to fight it off. Symptoms common to non-severe allergies are collateral damage from these defensive measures.
Non-severe allergic reactions include:
- Nose congestion
- Watery eyes
Causes of Allergies
There are hundreds of possible allergens in the world, and each person’s reaction to a particular allergen can range from not at all severe to life-threatening.
There’s no conclusive evidence as to why we start suffering from specific allergens, but family genetics may play a role.
The most common cause of allergic reactions in America are pollens, especially in spring and summer months when pollen levels are at their highest. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 20 million adults and 6.1 million children are diagnosed with hay fever each year.
Some people are also allergic to:
- Monosodium glutamate (aka MSG)
If you’re suffering from allergies but aren’t sure of the source, you may want to talk to a doctor to help identify the cause and develop a management plan together. Not all symptoms will require an allergy test, but some people benefit from a thorough examination to help determine specific allergens.
Should I Be Worried?
Non-severe allergies can be self-managed by avoiding triggers and taking non-prescription medications.
Certain types allergies are considered non-dangerous, but sufferers experience frequent symptoms that interfere with their daily life at home and at work. You should still see a doctor if your allergies aren’t life-threatening but continually bother you.
However, some people are extremely allergic to their triggers and can suffer life-threatening anaphylactic shock from minimal exposure.
You may have heard of peanut and bee allergies requiring immediate medical attention and epinephrine injections to prevent possible death. However, peanuts and bees aren’t the only life-threatening allergens. Certain individuals can experience severe reactions to milk, shellfish, and more. That’s why knowing your triggers is so important.
Not all allergies can be self-managed. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following reactions:
- Difficulty breathing
- Numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or face
- Rapid breathing
- Skin turning blue
- Swelling of your lips or tongue
- Tightness in your throat
Additional DIY Articles
Sore Throat; STI; Sinus Infection; UTI; Cough; Ear Infection; Cold; Eye Infection; Bladder Infection; Flu; Rash; Bronchitis; Stomach Pain; Earwax Buildup; Yeast Infection; Foot Pain; Back Pain; Strep Throat; Fever; Asthma; Insect Bites and Stings; Neck Pain; Headache; Diarrhea; Anxiety
Allergy Prevention Tips
Consider these tips to help prevent allergies:
- Flush your nose. It may sound uncomfortable, but rinsing your sinuses with a saline irrigation product (aka neti pots, which we sell at our ZOOM+Care clinics) can flush pollen and other irritants from your nose.
- Try non-prescription meds. Hay fever and non life-threatening allergies may be managed by non-prescription medications. These meds can block the histamines produced by your body, thereby reducing the symptoms associated with pollen allergies like itchy, watery eyes and sneezing. However, antihistamine medication doesn’t replace an epinephrine pen in the case of life-threatening allergic reactions.
- Watch the pollen levels. Who wants to stay inside when everyone else is playing outdoors? If you suffer from hay fever that isn’t easily managed by non-prescription antihistamine meds, you might have to find some fun indoor activities instead.