Allergic reactions can vary from mild to fatal but recognising your symptoms and reacting appropriately and quickly with products such as an EpiPen or antihistamines where necessary, is vital if not life-saving in some circumstances. They can occur when the body becomes exposed to a foreign antigen including pollen, fur, dust mites or mould; food items such as nuts, soy, shellfish and dairy; latex products; poison from insect bites and stings, and medications including penicillin.
Allergens can be eaten, inhaled or touched and though such reactions often begin in childhood, it is not unheard of for them to occur later on in life too. In fact, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 4% of adults will develop sudden reactions to any number of possible substances with over 50 million people in America alone suffering from some form of allergy.
How does an allergic reaction occur?
Though the cause of an allergy is still a mystery even to doctors, they are often inherited meaning that if a family member suffers from them, then you or your children are more likely to as well.
When your body comes into contact with a foreign substance such as those mentioned above, your immune system, which is responsible for the body’s defence against external threats including bacteria and viruses, creates antibodies. Very often these antigens are not harmful at all, such as food and pet fur, and yet the system has deemed them dangerous by becoming too sensitive and having a hypersensitivity reaction. This reaction can occur the moment a person comes into contact with an allergen, and up to several hours after making it harder to pinpoint what has caused the issue. A secondary reaction could also occur after the initial one anywhere up to 8 hours after, so it is essential to stay aware.
After the body has reacted once to a substance, it is likely to begin to act every time it is exposed as the antibodies remain on high alert. When you have an allergic reaction, several possible signs are ranging from extremely mild to deadly.
Signs of an allergic reaction
There are four types of hypersensitivity reactions, and type 1 is triggered by an immune response to an allergen which results in the release of inflammatory molecules such as histamines.
Some of the signs which demonstrate that this type of histamine release is affecting the circulatory and respiratory systems include:
- sneezing, running eyes and nose
- red and swollen eyes
- hives and rash
- coughing, chest tightness and wheezing
- itchy skin and facial swelling
- flaking and peeling skin
If you experience milder reactions, you may be able to ease your symptoms by using allergy relief purchased from Click Pharmacy such as antihistamines, but in some instances, this may not ben enough.
Signs of a more severe allergic reaction
Type one hypersensitivity reaction can also be extremely dangerous and induce reactions such as anaphylaxis which is life-threatening and even fatal within 15 minutes if left unchecked and unmedicated with epinephrine via an EpiPen. It results in your body going into a state of shock with symptoms including:
- lowered blood pressure
- loss of breath and lightheadedness
- a croupy cough
- blue lips
- fast but weak pulse rate
- nausea and vomiting
Other severe reactions which can begin moments after being exposed to the allergen in question can include:
- stomach pain
- palpitations of the heart
- blacking out
With these more severe allergic reactions, you must have your allergy diagnosed so that you can be prescribed allergy relief medication such as an EpiPen from Click Pharmacy.
If you don’t know what you are reacting to, it is best to begin by visiting your GP or booking an online appointment with a Click Pharmacy doctor. They can help you diagnose your allergies and assist you with finding the best form of defence against them. You may be asked to keep a diary which notes the allergens which you suspect may be causing the issues, as well as the symptoms and regularity of the attacks. Tests which check the blood for certain proteins being produced in defence against allergens can be done to help diagnose the reason or reasons for your reactions.
Once you have more of an idea as to what is causing your allergy attacks, you can start to use dedicated allergy relief medications such as a prescribed EpiPen from Click Pharmacy, though in many cases, over the counter antihistamines can be highly effective at controlling your allergic reactions too.
Preventing a reaction
Depending on your allergy, there are a few ways to keep yourself safe. This is as simple as avoiding your triggers and being prepared if you are to be around them, for example, anyone who has hay fever may choose to stay inside and keep doors and windows closed, or else take a course of antihistamines when the pollen count is high.
Although a person can take all the precautions possible to keep themselves away from allergens, accidents can happen. As such, keep medication with you at all times, including an EpiPen from Click Pharmacy. In the case of more severe attacks, a medical alert bracelet is vital as it will let passersby know that you have a severe allergy in case you lose consciousness or cannot tell them what is wrong for any reason.
Finally, a diary listing your symptoms, causes of a reaction, foods you’ve had, activities you have taken part it and when the attacks occur will enable you to begin to create an overall picture of your allergy.
To discuss any concerns you may have regarding your allergies or possible allergies, you can book a free and confidential appointment online with one of Click Pharmacy‘s in-house doctors at any time.
Image source: Pexels.com