When a person develops an allergy to a non-harmful substance, such as pollens, it is as if their immune system has made an error. After birth, the human immune system needs to learn what is harmful and what is not. Generally, pollen allergies do not develop until after the first five or six years of life.
Allergic responses are produced by allergens. With seasonal allergies, these allergens would be one or more proteins found in pollen. Although it is not known why pollen allergies do not develop for five or six years, studies have shown that they often begin in conjunction with viral infections.
The coexisting viral infection causes harm, impeding the regular sensitization process. This results in the immune system responding to the proteins as a threat, which it otherwise would not do.
This is not a one-time occurrence. Once the adverse reaction occurs, it is substantiated by the pattern the immune system will follow when it comes across those proteins again. An identical pattern will be sparked when the immune system comes across similar proteins. This is partially why some people have multiple allergies.
Common Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms vary in severity, complexity and manifestation. In the case of atopic allergies, allergen exposure effects can be instant. Symptoms may be severe or mild, varying from eczema to itchy eyes, rhinitis, diarrhea and vomiting, conjunctivitis and, rarely, anaphylaxis. Typical nasal allergy symptoms include sneezing, stuffy or a runny nose, inflamed nostrils, dark under eye circles and watery and swollen eyelids.
Asthma attacks and skin conditions, such as eczema, might be caused by an allergy. For instance, constant inflammation of the lung tissues, occurring after exposure to an offending allergen, can cause an asthma attack.
Appearances of atopic disease vary greatly depending on the age of the allergic individual, as well as the allergen. Food allergies, especially milk and eggs, are most common in infants. However, most allergic children tolerate these foods after age 3. At this time, allergies to inhalants become predominant.
Eczema can happen in conjunction with exposure to allergens. It can increase sensitivity toward triggers as well due to damage of the natural skin barrier. Children with eczema have increased risks for developing asthma or hay fever when they get older.
There are several various allergy triggers. Among the most common are dust mites, pollen, animal dander, mold, latex, insect stings and some foods.
Pollen exposure can trigger seasonal allergies such as hay fever. Dust mites are tiny organisms that reside in house dust. Symptoms of dust mite allergies are similar to pollen but happen year round. Molds are tiny parasitic fungi with spores that hang in the air like pollen. Molds are commonly found in damp areas such as bathrooms, basements, mulch, leaf piles, and even grass.
Animal dander consists of proteins that are secreted by oil glands in animal skin and also found in an animal’s saliva. Animal allergies may take up to two years to develop.
Fish and shellfish, wheat, nuts, eggs and milk are the most common foods that cause allergies. Allergic reactions to food usually happen within minutes of eating the offending morsel. The most frequently offending product for people with a latex allergy is latex gloves. However other products, such as latex condoms, can also trigger an allergic reaction.Anyone who is stung by an insect will suffer from swelling, pain and redness. However, severe or life-threatening symptoms such as nausea, swelling that last a week or more, or low-grade fever are allergic reactions.
Many who suffer from allergies often rely on numerous sprays and drugs for relief, frequently with varied results. Many pharmaceutical remedies relieve one symptom but not another. Not to mention that pharmaceutical remedies are usually costly and often come with undesirable side effects.
Yearly bouts with pollen are uncomfortable and drain one’s mental well-being. In addition, people with allergies are 14 times more likely to develop migraine headaches than others. Statistics like that are enough to make any allergy sufferer want to hide until allergy season is over. However, it is possible to safely go outdoors, even during the midst of allergy season, without loading up on pharmaceutical allergy medications.
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