What are Allergies?
Allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to a foreign material, often known as an allergen. The immune system misinterprets these allergens as dangerous, quickly producing antibodies to defend your body. This might result in a range of symptoms, from mild to severe.
Allergens and symptoms may vary from person to person, some common causes of allergies include:
- Pollen: Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds can induce hay fever.
- Dust mites: These tiny insects are commonly found in mattresses, carpets, and upholstered furniture.
- Mould: Damp indoor and outdoor conditions are ideal for the growth of mould spores.
- Animal dander: Some people may develop allergic reactions to pet hair and skin flakes.
- Insect bites and stings: Insect bites and stings from bees and wasps can cause mild to severe reactions.
- Foods: Common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
- Medications: Some people may be allergic to certain medications, such as penicillin or aspirin.
Some of the most common allergy symptoms people experience:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Hives or rash
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or vomiting
In severe cases, someone may experience anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis symptoms include breathing difficulties, a rapid or erratic heartbeat, swollen face or throat, and a sharp drop in blood pressure.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect you have an allergy or see one or more symptoms upon exposure to certain elements, see a doctor right away for a thorough diagnosis and treatment. A doctor may administer skin or blood tests to identify the allergen causing your symptoms.
Treatment options for allergies may include:
- Avoidance: Staying away from allergens is the best method to manage allergies. This may involve performing routine cleaning to eliminate dust mites, utilizing air purifiers, or avoiding particular foods.
- Medications: Prescription or over-the-counter drugs can help reduce allergy symptoms. People frequently take antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids to treat allergies.
- Immunotherapy: Allergy injections or sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) can help your immune system build a tolerance to allergens over time. This treatment is usually suggested for people who have severe or persistent allergies.
Keep in mind that allergies can be managed with the correct diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes. If you have questions about your allergies or if your symptoms worsen or don’t get better after treatment, visit our walk-in clinic at 1000 Bay St., Toronto. We provide industry-leading consultation for all your healthcare needs.