Allergies Causes And Remedies
I am writing this article is because I wanted to find out about allergies as my my child was diagnosed as is being Atopic, which is, severe allergic rhinitis. It covers areas such as asthma, hay fever, eczema, rhinitis.
What are allergies? It is when the body responds to an allergen it cannot tolerate, as it sees it as a threat and creates histamine and other substances to fight it, causing us discomfort in various forms. Most allergens are harmless but in some people there is an exaggerated response.
What is an allergen? It is a micro-organism that comes from, house dust mites, pollen, animal dander, house dust, spores from moulds, foods
Discomfort can be experienced in various parts of the body:
Skin, as nettle rash, redness, itchiness (hives and wheals)
Eyes, itchy, red (conjunctivitis)
Nose, runny, itching, sneezing (rhinitis)
Throat, swelling,(if severe, asthma)
Stomach and gut, abdominal discomfort (tummy ache) nausea, vomiting,
Breathing tubes, wheezing, coughing, shortage of breath (asthma)
People suffering from allergies is widespread and each year it is on the increase and increasingly, it’s affecting children. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer from an allergy at some stage in their lives.
The causes of the increase are varied and could include, industrial development, effects of the environment. Food allergies are increasing in children, we eat more processed foods and less fruit and vegetables, wheat can be an allergen too. Cosmetic products, containing ingredients which are derived from nuts or other potentially allergenic substances.
I have learned that if one parent (particularly the Mother)or both have had allergies, the risk to their child being susceptible is increased and the child is known to be Atopic. My skin reacted to many cosmetics in my youth, and I remember a runny nose and itchy eyes in the summer, and a particularly violent reaction probably caused by something I ate. My husband remembers one particular allergic reaction, many years ago, to something that was never identified.
Being Atopic results in there being an increased risk to ANY allergy, not just a specific allergy.
Exposure to skin creams can cause an allergic reaction for people who are already at risk of developing an allergy. But it is not as simple as just using the wrong cream on skin.
Our environment has changed over the past 50 years. Pollutants can aggravate allergies. Chemicals can irritate the respiratory system. Wearing gloves can protect our skin from irritants.
Our declining exposure to bacteria and micro-organisms, especially in our youth means that we can’t tolerate them and our bodies react by producing histamine.
Our understanding of the problems, is ongoing and growing all the time but meanwhile we need to alleviate the symptoms and reduce risks where we can, given what we understand.
In our homes, we need to be vigilant to reduce risk of allergic reactions. House dust mites are difficult to remove completely but can be reduced from our homes. House dust mites can be found in curtains,carpets, mattresses, pillows, duvets, soft toys. They live off dead skin cells and, frequent vacuuming, washing at more than 50 degrees and anti-allergy mattress and pillow protectors can help.
Household dust is a mixture of tiny particles, including mould spores, pollen, animal dander, insect parts, dried food particles, fabric fibres and is inhaled easily. It can collect on the skin of those working in a dusty environment. Frequent wiping of surfaces with a damp cloth helps to keep dust to a minimum and microfibre cloths need no additional products to clean, they can be used dry or just damp with water.
In the bathroom, the damp environment, poor ventilation, toiletries and cleaning products can make symptoms worse.
Medications, do not cure but can help alleviate symptoms. Most modern anti-histamines do not make you drowsy, as was once the case. They come in tablet form, but can be prescribed in liquid or syrup for young children.
A cream form of anti-histamine is useful for insect bites, stings, nettle rash. Nasal sprays containing anti-histamines soothe irritated eyes and nose.
Emollients, which are a mixture of oil and water, calm and soothe eczema and dry skin and create a protective barrier on top of the skin. Some may contain a small amount of antibacterial chemical to reduce infections in scratched broken skin, or steroids to reduce inflammation. Scratching causes the body to produce more anti-histamine, which aggravates the condition. They range from runny lotions to thick creams and it is matter of finding which one suits best.
Even when traces of eczema have disappeared, it is advisable to continue using an emollient as part of a regular regime at set times of a day even when they don’t appear to be needed, as this means the regime is working. The skin remains hydrated so there is less chance of the skins’ barrier being broken, therefore allergens and irritants that cause eczema, will be reduced.
Soap is drying and water is drying so using a soap substitute is advisable and an emollient can be used for washing which helps hydrate the skin whilst in water.
Steroids are prescribed by Doctors to treat a range of allergies and are known as Corticosteroids. Their use will be monitored carefully, with regular check ups, and are used in inhalers. Steroids reduce inflammation and swelling in airways which is the underlying problem in asthma.
Topical steroids known as Hydro cortisone creams are put on the skin to prevent a flare up of eczema. If inflamed skin gets broken and weepy, infection can set in.
Nasal sprays and eye drops can take several days to work but can reduce symptoms of airborne allergens such as in rhinitis and hay fever. Sprays should be used every day and prior to allergens appearing to keep symptoms at bay and continued when symptoms disappear because that means the medication is working. Adults can buy these sprays over the counter but children will need a prescription from the Doctor.
Being aware of the many and varied triggers to an allergic reaction will help to calm and control the symptoms.