What are allergies and what causes them

Allergic reactions generally happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.

They can cause:

  1. red, itchy, watery eyes
  2. a runny or blocked nose
  3. a red, itchy rash
  4. wheezing and coughing
  5. sneezing
  6. worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms

Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can happen.

This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.


Is it an allergy, sensitivity or intolerance?

How Are Allergies Treated?

There’s no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed. The best way to manage with them is to avoid the allergens. That means that parents must educate their kids early and often, not only about the allergy itself, but also about the reactions they can own if they consume or come into contact with the allergen.

Telling every caregivers (childcare staff, teachers, family members, parents of your child’s friends, etc.) about your child’s allergy is also important.

If avoiding environmental allergens isn’t possible or doesn’t assist, doctors might prescribe medicines, including antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays.

(Many of these also are available without a prescription.)

In some cases, doctors recommend allergy shots(immunotherapy) to assist desensitize a person to an allergen.

What are allergies and what causes them

But allergy shots are only helpful for allergens such as dust, mold, pollens, animals, and insect stings. They’re not used for food allergies.

Common Food Allergens

Up to 2 million, or 8%, of kids in the United States are affected by food allergies. Eight foods account for most of those: cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

  1. Fish and shellfish. These allergies are some of the more common adult food allergies and ones that people generally don’t outgrow.

    What are allergies and what causes them

    Fish and shellfish are from diverse families of food, so having an allergy to one does not necessarily mean someone will be allergicto the other.

  2. Eggs. Egg allergy can be a challenge for parents. Eggs are used in numerous of the foods kids eat — and in numerous cases they’re «hidden» ingredients. Kids tend to outgrow egg allergies as they get older.
  3. Soy. Soy allergy is more common among babies than older kids.

    Numerous infants who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to the protein in soy formulas. Soy proteins are often a hidden ingredient in prepared foods.

  4. Peanuts and tree nuts. Peanut allergies are on the rise, and as are allergies to tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews. Most people do not outgrow peanut or tree nut allergies.
  5. Cow’s milk(or cow’s milk protein). Between 2% and 3% of children younger than 3 years ancient are allergic to the proteins found in cow’s milk and cow’s milk-based formulas. Most formulas are cow’s milk-based. Milk proteins also can be a hidden ingredient in prepared foods.

    What are allergies and what causes them

    Numerous kids outgrow milk allergies.

  6. Wheat. Wheat proteins are found in numerous foods, and some are more obvious than others. Although wheat allergy is often confused with celiac disease, there is a difference. Celiac disease is a sensitivity to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley). But a wheat allergy can do more than make a person feel ill — love other food allergies, it also can cause a life-threatening reaction.

Food Allergies

Kids with food allergies must completely avoid products made with their allergens. This can be tough as allergens are found in numerous unexpected foods and products.

Always read labels to see if a packaged food contains your child’s allergen.

Manufacturers of foods sold in the United States must state in understandable language whether foods contain any of the top eight most common allergens. This label requirement makes things a little easier. But it’s significant to remember that «safe» foods could become unsafe if food companies change ingredients, processes, or production locations.

Cross-contamination means that the allergen is not one of the ingredients in a product, but might own come into contact with it during production or packaging. Companies are not required to label for cross-contamination risk, though some voluntarily do so.

You may see statements such as «May contain…,» «Processed in a facility that also processes…,» or «Manufactured on equipment also used for ….»

Because products without such statements also might be cross-contaminated and the company did not label for it, it’s always best to contact the company to see if the product could contain your child’s allergen. Glance for this information on the company’s website or email a company representative.

Cross-contamination also can happen at home or in restaurants when kitchen surfaces or utensils are used for diverse foods.

The primary way to manage a food allergy is to avoid consuming the food that causes you problems.

Carefully check ingredient labels of food products, and study whether what you need to avoid is known by other names.

The Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of (FALCPA) mandates that manufacturers of packaged foods produced in the United States identify, in simple, clear language, the presence of any of the eight most common food allergens — milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and crustacean shellfish — in their products. The presence of the allergen must be stated even if it is only an incidental ingredient, as in an additive or flavoring.

Some goods also may be labeled with precautionary statements, such as “may contain,” “might contain,” “made on shared equipment,” “made in a shared facility” or some other indication of potential allergen contamination.

There are no laws or regulations requiring those advisory warnings and no standards that define what they mean. If you own questions about what foods are safe for you to eat, talk with your allergist.

Be advised that the FALCPA labeling requirements do not apply to items regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (meat, poultry and certain egg products) and those regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (distilled spirits, wine and beer). The law also does not apply to cosmetics, shampoos and other health and beauty aids, some of which may contain tree nut extracts or wheat proteins.

Avoiding an allergen is easier said than done.

While labeling has helped make this process a bit easier, some foods are so common that avoiding them is daunting. A dietitian or a nutritionist may be capable to assist. These food experts will offer tips for avoiding the foods that trigger your allergies and will ensure that even if you exclude certain foods from your diet, you still will be getting every the nutrients you need. Special cookbooks and support groups, either in person or online, for patients with specific allergies can also provide useful information.

Many people with food allergies wonder whether their condition is permanent.

There is no definitive answer. Allergies to milk, eggs, wheat and soy may vanish over time, while allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish tend to be lifelong.

How Do Allergies Happen?

An allergy happens when the immune system& overreacts to an allergen, treating it as an invader and trying to fight it off. This causes symptoms that can range from annoying to serious or even life-threatening.

In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE).

These antibodies then cause certain cells to release chemicals (including histamine) into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen «invader.»

It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.

Some allergies are seasonal and happen only at certain times of the year (like when pollen counts are high); others can happen anytime someone comes in contact with an allergen.

So, when a person with a food allergy eats that specific food or someone who’s allergic to dust mites is exposed to them, they will own an allergic reaction.

Why Take a Medical History?

When it comes to human allergic disease, an individual’s medical history is as significant as the results of an allergy test. Medical history is the critical link between allergy test results and allergic disease itself.

Allergy skin testing is the gold standard and is used along with the medical history to establish a diagnosis. Both blood and skin allergy tests can detect a patient’s sensitivity to common inhalants love pollen and dust mites or to medicines, certain foods, latex, venom, or other substances.

Generally skin testing is the most precise and preferred method used by trained allergists. Allergy blood tests may be ordered in certain specific situations, such as severe skin rashes, or if it is impossible to stop a medication that interferes with the interpretation of the skin test.

If the results of skin and blood allergy tests are not clear or are inconsistent with the patient’s medical history, allergists rely on their training and experience along with a patient’s medical history and a physical examination—not test results—to make the final diagnosis.

Research confirms what allergists already know: Allergy tests are valuable for their ability to give precise and dependable results that confirm information gathered in the medical history.

Eating out

Be additional careful when eating in restaurants.

Waiters (and sometimes the kitchen staff) may not always know the ingredients of every dish on the menu. Depending on your sensitivity, even just walking into a kitchen or a restaurant can cause an allergic reaction.

Consider using a “chef card” — available through numerous websites — that identifies your allergy and what you cannot eat. Always tell your servers about your allergies and enquire to speak to the chef, if possible. Stress the need for preparation surfaces, pans, pots and utensils that haven’t been contaminated by your allergen, and clarify with the restaurant staff what dishes on the menu are safe for you.

Can food allergies be prevented?

In , the American Academy of Pediatrics published a study which supported research suggesting that feeding solid foods to extremely young babies could promote allergies.

It recommends against introducing solid foods tobabies younger than 17 weeks. It also suggests exclusively breast-feeding “for as endless as possible,” but stops short of endorsing earlier research supporting six months of exclusive breast-feeding.

Research on the benefits of feeding hypoallergenic formulas to high-risk children – those born into families with a strong history of allergic diseases – is mixed.

In the case of peanut allergy, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) issued new updated guidelines in in order to define high, moderate and low-risk infants for developing peanut allergy.

The guidelines also address how to proceed with introduction based on risk.

The updated guidelines are a breakthrough for the prevention of peanut allergy. Peanut allergy has become much more prevalent in recent years, and there is now a roadmap to prevent numerous new cases.

According to the new guidelines, an baby at high risk of developing peanut allergy is one with severe eczema and/or egg allergy. The guidelines recommend introduction of peanut-containing foods as early as months for high-risk infants who own already started solid foods, after determining that it is safe to do so.

Parents should know that most infants are either moderate- or low-risk for developing peanut allergies, and most can own peanut-containing foods introduced at home. Whole peanuts should never be given to infants because they are a choking hazard.

If your kid has no factors to be at high risk, the best way to introduce peanuts is to make certain first of every your kid is healthy – they don’t own a freezing, fever or anything else.

Make certain it’s not the first food you’ve introduced to them.

Ruchi Gupta, MD, ACAAI member

Clinical studies are ongoing in food allergy to assist develop tolerances to specific foods. Askyour board-certified allergistif you or your kid may be a candidate for one of these studies.

In July , Natasha Ednan-Laperouse collapsed on a flight from London to Nice, suffering a fatal allergic reaction to a baguette bought from Pret a Manger. At an inquest, the court heard how Natasha, who was 15 and had multiple severe food allergies, had carefully checked the ingredients on the packet.

Sesame seeds – which were in the bread dough, the family later found out – were not listed. “It was their fault,” her dad Nadim said in a statement. “I was stunned that a large food company love Pret could mislabel a sandwich and this could cause my daughter to die.”

This horrifying case highlights how careful people with allergies need to be, as do the food companies – not least because allergies own been growing in prevalence in the past few decades.

“Food allergy is on the rise and has been for some time,” says Holly Shaw, nurse adviser for Allergy UK, a charity that supports people with allergies.

Children are more likely to be affected – between 6 and 8% of children are thought to own food allergies, compared with less than 3% of adults – but numbers are growing in westernised countries, as well as places such as China.

“Certainly, as a charity, we’ve seen an increase in the number of calls we get, from adults and parents of children with suspected or confirmed allergy,” says Shaw. Certain types of allergy are more common in childhood, such as cow’s milk or egg allergy but, she says: “It is possible at any point in life to develop an allergy to something previously tolerated.”

Stephen Till, professor of allergy at King’s College London and a consultant allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital believe, says that an allergic reaction occurs when your immune system inappropriately recognises something foreign as a bug, and mounts an attack against it.

“You make antibodies which stick to your immune cells,” he says, “and when you get re-exposed at a later time to the allergen, those antibodies are already there and they trigger the immune cells to react.”

Allergies can own a huge impact on quality of life, and can, in rare cases such as that of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, be fatal. There is no cure for a food allergy, although there has been recent promising work involving the use of probiotics and drug treatments. The first trial dedicated to treating adults with peanut allergy is just starting at Guy’s hospital.

“There is a lot of work going on in prevention to better understand the weaning process, and there’s a lot of buzz around desensitisation,” says Adam Fox, consultant paediatric allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals.

Desensitisation is conducted by exposing the patient to minuscule, controlled amounts of the allergen. It’s an ongoing treatment though, rather than a cure. “When they stop having it regularly, they’re allergic again, it doesn’t change the underlying process.”

What we do know is that we are more allergic than ever. “If you ponder in terms of decades, are we seeing more food allergy now than we were 20 or 30 years ago?

I ponder we can confidently tell yes,” says Fox. “If you glance at the research from the s and early s there is beautiful excellent data that the quantity of peanut allergy trebled in a extremely short period.”

There has also been an increase in the number of people with severe reactions showing up in hospital emergency departments. In , 4, people in England were admitted to A&E for anaphylactic shock (although not every of these will own been below to food allergy).

This number has been climbing each year and it’s the same across Europe, the US and Australia, says Fox.

Why is there this rise in allergies? The truth is, nobody knows. Fox doesn’t believe it is below to better diagnosis. And it won’t be below to one single thing. There own been suggestions that it could be caused by reasons ranging from a lack of vitamin D to gut health and pollution. Weaning practices could also influence food allergy, he says.

“If you introduce something much earlier into the diet, then you’re less likely to become allergic to it,” he says. A study found that the prevalence of peanut allergy in Jewish children in the UK, where the advice had been to avoid peanuts, was 10 times higher than that of children in Israel, where rates are low – there, babies are often given peanut snacks.

Should parents wean their babies earlier, and introduce foods such as peanuts? Fox says it’s a “minefield”, but he advises sticking to the Department of Health and World Health Organization’s line that promotes exclusive breastfeeding for six months before introducing other foods, “and to not delay the introduction of allergenic foods such as peanut and egg beyond that, as this may increase the risk of allergy, particularly in kids with eczema”.

(Fox says there is a direct relationship between a baby having eczema and the chances of them having a food allergy.)

The adults Till sees are those whose allergies started in childhood (people are more likely to grow out of milk or egg allergies, than peanut allergies, for instance) or those with allergy that started in adolescence or adulthood. Again, it is not clear why you can tolerate something every your life and then develop an allergy to it.

It could be to do with our changing diets in recent decades.

“The commonest new onset severe food allergy I see is to shellfish, and particularly prawns,” says Till. “It’s my own observation that the types of food we eat has changed fairly a lot in recent decades as a result of changes in the food industry and supply chain.” He says we are now eating foods such as tiger prawns that we probably didn’t eat so often in the past.

He has started to see people with an allergy to lupin flour, which comes from a legume in the same family as peanuts, which is more commonly used in continental Europe but has been increasingly used in the UK.

Sesame – thought to own been the cause of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s reaction – is another growing allergen, thanks to its inclusion in products that are now mainstream, such as hummus. One problem with sesame, says Till, is: “It often doesn’t show up extremely well in our tests, so it can be hard to gauge just how allergic someone is to it.”

Fox says it’s significant to stress that deaths from food allergy are still rare. “Food allergy is not the leading cause of death of people with food allergies – it’s still a extremely remote risk,” says Fox. “But of course you don’t desire to be that one who is incredibly unlucky, so it causes grand anxiety. The genuine challenge of managing kids with food allergy is it’s really hard to predict which of the children are going to own the bad reactions, so everybody has to act as if they might be that one.”

Anywhere from 40 to 50 million people in the U.S.

own allergies or asthma. These diseases are so common that it might seem love the diagnosis and treatment are straightforward and that any doctor should be capable to ister the most effective therapies.

What are allergies and what causes them

However, allergists are experts in their field with specialized training that allows them to:

  1. Accurately diagnose your condition
  2. Identify the source of your suffering
  3. Develop a personalized plan that eliminates your symptoms
  4. Treat more than just your symptoms
  5. Perform allergy testing
  6. Provide you with the most cost-effective care that produces the best results

Two key steps in the process of allergy diagnosis are the medical history and allergy test selection. Allergists use their skills in these areas to assist more patients feel well, stay athletic during the day, and relax at night.

And that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Who Gets Allergies?

The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed below through genes from parents to their kids. But just because you, your partner, or one of your children might own allergies doesn’t mean that every of your kids will definitely get them. And someone generally doesn’t inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies.

Some kids own allergies even if no family member is allergic, and those who are allergic to one thing are likely to be allergic to others.

What Things Cause Allergies?

Airborne Allergy Symptoms

Airborne allergens can cause something known as allergic rhinitis, which generally develops by 10 years of age, reaches its peak in the teens or early twenties, and often disappears between the ages of 40 and

Symptoms can include:

  1. itchy nose and/or throat
  2. sneezing
  3. stuffy nose
  4. coughing

When symptoms also include itchy, watery, and/or red eyes, this is called allergic conjunctivitis.

(Dark circles that sometimes show up around the eyes are called allergic «shiners.»)

Other Common Allergens

  1. Medicines. Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Numerous other others, including over-the-counter medicines (those you can purchase without a prescription), also can cause allergic reactions.
  2. Insect allergy. For most kids, being stung by an insect means swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite.

    But for those with insect venom allergy, an insect sting can cause more serious symptoms.

  3. Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can make people break out in hives. Generally, this is because someone has a reaction to the chemicals in these products, though it may not always be an allergic reaction. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Some kids also own what are called cross-reactions. For example, kids who are allergic to birch pollen might own symptoms when they eat an apple because that apple is made up of a protein similar to one in the pollen.

And for reasons that aren’t clear, people with a latex allergy (found in latex gloves and some kinds of hospital equipment) are more likely to be allergic to foods likekiwi, chestnuts, avocados, and bananas.

Allergy

A reaction produced by the body’s immune system when exposed to a normally harmless substance.

Intolerance

Where a substance causes unpleasant symptoms, such as diarrhoea, but does not involve the immune system.

People with an intolerance to certain foods can typically eat a little quantity without having any problems.

Sheet final reviewed: 22 November
Next review due: 22 November

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people.

When a person is allergic to something, the immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harming the body.

Substances that cause allergic reactions — such as some foods, dust, plant pollen, or medicines — are known as allergens.

Allergies are a major cause of illness in the United States. Up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, own some type of allergy. In fact, allergies cause about 2 million missed school days each year.

Managing food allergies in children

No parent wants to see their kid suffer.

Since fatal and near-fatal food allergy reactions can happen at school or other places exterior the home, parents of a kid with food allergies need to make certain that their child’s school has a written emergency action plan. The plan should provide instructions on preventing, recognizing and managing food allergies and should be available in the school and during activities such as sporting events and field trips. If your kid has been prescribed an auto-injector, be certain that you and those responsible for supervising your kid understand how to use it.

In November , President Barack Obama signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act (PL ), which encourages states to adopt laws requiring schools to own epinephrine auto-injectors on hand.

As of tardy , dozens of states had passed laws that either require schools to own a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors for general use or permit school districts the option of providing a supply of epinephrine. Numerous of these laws are new, and it is uncertain how well they are being implemented. As a result, ACAAI still recommends that providers caring for food-allergic children in states with such laws maintain at least two units of epinephrine per allergic kid attending the school.

Sensitivity

The exaggeration of the normal effects of a substance.

For example, the caffeine in a cup of coffee may cause extreme symptoms, such as palpitations and trembling.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Allergies?

The type and severity of allergy symptoms vary from allergy to allergy and person to person.

What are allergies and what causes them

Allergies may show up as itchy eyes, sneezing, a stuffy nose, throat tightness, trouble breathing, vomiting, and even fainting or passing out.

Kids with severe allergies (such as those to food, medicine, or insect venom) can be at risk for a sudden, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can happen just seconds after being exposed to an allergen or not until a few hours later (if the reaction is from a food).

So doctors will desire anyone diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of an emergency.

Epinephrine works quickly against serious allergy symptoms; for example, it reduces swelling and raises low blood pressure.

Common Airborne Allergens

Some of the most common things people are allergic to are airborne (carried through the air):

  1. Moldsare fungi that thrive both indoors and exterior in warm, moist environments. Outdoors, molds can be found in poor drainage areas, such as in piles of rotting leaves or compost piles. Indoors, molds thrive in dark, poorly ventilated places such as bathrooms and damp basements.

    Molds tend to be seasonal, but some can grow year-round, especially those indoors.

  2. Dust mites are microscopic insects that live every around us and feed on the millions of dead skin cells that drop off our bodies every day. They’re the main allergic component of home dust. Dust mites are present year-round in most parts of the United States and live in bedding, upholstery, and carpets.
  3. Pet allergens are caused by pet dander (tiny flakes of shed skin) and animal saliva. When pets lick themselves, the saliva gets on their fur or feathers.

    As the saliva dries, protein particles become airborne and work their way into fabrics in the home. Pet urine also can cause allergies in the same way when it gets on airborne fur or skin, or when a pet pees in a spot that isn’t cleaned.

  4. Pollen is a major cause of allergies (a pollen allergy is often calledhay fever or rose fever). Trees, weeds, and grasses release these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants. Pollen allergies are seasonal, and the type of pollen someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen.

    Pollen counts measure how much pollen is in the air and can assist people with allergies predict how bad their symptoms might be on any given day. Pollen counts are generally higher in the morning and on warm, dry, breezy days, and lowest when it’s chilly and wet.

  5. Cockroaches are also a major household allergen, especially in inner cities. Exposure to cockroach-infested buildings may be a major cause of the high rates of asthma in inner-city kids.

Airborne Allergies

To assist kids avoid airborne allergens:

  1. Clean when your kid is not in the room.
  2. Remove carpets or rugs from your child’s room (hard floors don’t collect dust as much as carpets do).
  3. If your kid has a pollen allergy, hold the windows closed when pollen season is at its peak, own your kid take a bath or shower and change clothes after being outdoors, and don’t let him or her mow the lawn.
  4. Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your kid is allergic to dust mites.
  5. Don’t hang heavy drapes and get rid of other items that permit dust to build up.
  6. Keep family pets out of your child’s bedroom.
  7. Keep kids who areallergic to mold away fromdamp areas, such as some basements, and hold bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.

Food, Medicines, or Insect Allergy Symptoms

  1. diarrhea
  2. hoarseness
  3. A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin and the area is scratched with a little pricking device.
  4. hives
  5. a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
  6. throat tightness
  7. stomachache
  8. wheezing
  9. coughing
  10. swelling
  11. trouble breathing
  12. vomiting
  13. itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  14. A little quantity of allergen is injected just under the skin.

    This test stings a little but isn’t painful.

Allergic reactions can vary. Sometimes, a person can own a mild reaction that affects only one body system, love hives on the skin. Other times, the reaction can be more serious and involve more than one part of the body. A mild reaction in the past does not mean that future reactions will be mild.

Anaphylaxis

Symptoms caused by a food allergy can range from mild to life-threatening; the severity of each reaction is unpredictable. People who own previously experienced only mild symptoms may suddenly experience a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis, which can, among other things, impair breathing and cause a sudden drop in blood pressure.

This is why allergists do not love to classify someone as “mildly” or “severely” food allergic — there is just no way to tell what may happen with the next reaction. In the U.S., food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis exterior the hospital setting.

Epinephrine (adrenaline) is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, which results when exposure to an allergen triggers a flood of chemicals that can send your body into shock. Anaphylaxis can happen within seconds or minutes of exposure to the allergen, can worsen quickly and can be fatal.

Once you’ve been diagnosed with a food allergy, your allergist should prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector and teach you how to use it.

You should also be given a written treatment plan describing what medications you’ve been prescribed and when they should be used. Check the expiration date of your auto-injector, note the expiration date on your calendar and enquire your pharmacy about reminder services for prescription renewals.

Anyone with a food allergy should always own his or her auto-injector shut at hand. Be certain to own two doses available, as the severe reaction can recur in about 20 percent of individuals. There are no data to assist predict who may need a second dose of epinephrine, so this recommendation applies to every patients with a food allergy.

Use epinephrine immediately if you experience severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, repetitive coughing, feeble pulse, hives, tightness in your throat, trouble breathing or swallowing, or a combination of symptoms from diverse body areas, such as hives, rashes or swelling on the skin coupled with vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

Repeated doses may be necessary. You should call for an ambulance (or own someone nearby do so) and inform the dispatcher that epinephrine was istered and more may be needed. You should be taken to the emergency room; policies for monitoring patients who own been given epinephrine vary by hospital.

If you are uncertain whether a reaction warrants epinephrine, use it correct away; the benefits of epinephrine far outweigh the risk that a dose may not own been necessary.

Common side effects of epinephrine may include anxiety, restlessness, dizziness and shakiness.

What are allergies and what causes them

In extremely rare instances, the medication can lead to abnormal heart rate or rhythm, heart attack, a sharp increase in blood pressure and fluid buildup in the lungs. If you own certain pre-existing conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, you may be at a higher risk for adverse effects from epinephrine. Still, epinephrine is considered extremely safe and is the most effective medicine to treat severe allergic reactions.

Other medications may be prescribed to treat symptoms of a food allergy, but it is significant to note that there is no substitute for epinephrine: It is the only medication that can reverse the life-threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis.

How Are Allergies Diagnosed?

Some allergies are fairly simple to identify but others are less obvious because they can be similar to other conditions.

If your kid has cold-like symptoms lasting longer than a week or two or develops a «cold» at the same time every year, talk with your doctor, who might diagnose an allergy and prescribe medicines, or may refer you to an allergist(a doctor who is an expert in the treatment of allergies) for allergy tests.

To discover the cause of an allergy, allergists generally do skin tests for the most common environmental and food allergens.

A skin test can work in one of two ways:

  • A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin and the area is scratched with a little pricking device.
  • A little quantity of allergen is injected just under the skin. This test stings a little but isn’t painful.

After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area (like a mosquito bite) appears at the site, the test is positive.

Blood tests may be done instead for kids with skin conditions, those who are on certain medicines, or those who are extremely sensitive to a specific allergen.

Even if testing shows an allergy, a kid also must own symptoms to be diagnosed with an allergy.

For example, a toddler who has a positive test for dust mites and sneezes a lot while playing on the floor would be considered allergic to dust mites.

Why Is Allergy Test Choice Important?

An significant related consideration is for health practitioners to select the correct test, the one best capable to aid the diagnostic process. For numerous reasons, that’s not an simple occupation. Allergy patients are often sensitized to numerous allergens, but are only clinically allergic to one or more specific substances.

Allergists are trained to select tests that pinpoint the relevant allergen, which enables them to develop optimal therapies for each patient.

Board-certified allergists recognize that not every allergy tests are same. They regularly review the scientific literature to study which testing systems work better than others and the laboratory practices that may affect test results.

Allergy tests should not be ordered randomly, either. They are chosen based on symptoms, environmental and occupational exposures, age, and even hobbies. Every results are then interpreted in the context of the patient’s medical history.

Get the facts: Discover answers with an allergist.

After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area (like a mosquito bite) appears at the site, the test is positive.

Blood tests may be done instead for kids with skin conditions, those who are on certain medicines, or those who are extremely sensitive to a specific allergen.

Even if testing shows an allergy, a kid also must own symptoms to be diagnosed with an allergy.

For example, a toddler who has a positive test for dust mites and sneezes a lot while playing on the floor would be considered allergic to dust mites.

Why Is Allergy Test Choice Important?

An significant related consideration is for health practitioners to select the correct test, the one best capable to aid the diagnostic process. For numerous reasons, that’s not an simple occupation. Allergy patients are often sensitized to numerous allergens, but are only clinically allergic to one or more specific substances.

Allergists are trained to select tests that pinpoint the relevant allergen, which enables them to develop optimal therapies for each patient.

Board-certified allergists recognize that not every allergy tests are same. They regularly review the scientific literature to study which testing systems work better than others and the laboratory practices that may affect test results.

Allergy tests should not be ordered randomly, either. They are chosen based on symptoms, environmental and occupational exposures, age, and even hobbies. Every results are then interpreted in the context of the patient’s medical history.

Get the facts: Discover answers with an allergist.


Common allergies

Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.

The more common allergens include:

  1. insect bites and stings
  2. dust mites
  3. mould – these can release little particles into the air that you can breathe in
  4. medicines – including ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
  5. latex – used to make some gloves and condoms
  6. animal dander, tiny flakes of skin or hair
  7. grass and tree pollen – an allergy to these is known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  8. food – particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs and cows’ milk
  9. household chemicals – including those in detergents and hair dyes

Most of these allergens are generally harmless to people who are not allergic to them.


How to manage an allergy

In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible.

For example, if you own a food allergy, you should check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.

There are also several medicines available to help control symptoms of allergic reactions, including:

  1. decongestants – tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids that can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
  2. antihistamines – these can be taken when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
  3. lotions and creams, such as moisturising creams (emollients) – these can reduce skin redness and itchiness
  4. steroid medicines – sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets that can assist reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction

For some people with extremely severe allergies, a treatment called immunotherapy may be recommended.

This involves being exposed to the allergen in a controlled way over a number of years so your body gets used to it and does not react to it so severely.


What causes allergies?

Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to a specific substance as though it’s harmful.

It’s not clear why this happens, but most people affected own a family history of allergies or own closely related conditions, such as asthma or eczema.

The number of people with allergies is increasing every year.

The reasons for this are not understood, but 1 of the main theories is it’s the result of living in a cleaner, germ-free environment, which reduces the number of germs our immune system has to deal with.

It’s thought this may cause it to overreact when it comes into contact with harmless substances.


Getting assist for allergies

See a GP if you ponder you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.

The symptoms of an allergic reaction can also be caused by other conditions.

A GP can assist determine whether it’s likely you own an allergy.

If they ponder you might own a mild allergy, they can offer advice and treatment to assist manage the condition.

If your allergy is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you’re allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and advice about treatment.

Find out more about allergy testing


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