Everything You Need to Know About Allergic Reactions

Your body uses the immune system for defense against harmful bacteria and viruses. However, in some instances, the immune system will fight off normally harmless substances to the body. An allergic reaction occurs when your body reacts to these substances, known as allergens. Touching, eating, or inhaling an allergen can cause an allergic reaction. You must seek medical attention from a certified clinic specializing in food allergies in Gilbert when you come into contact with the allergens.

What Are the Causes of Allergic Reactions?

It is not clear why a section of the population experiences allergic reactions. Allergies can be inherited since they seem to run in families. You are at a greater risk of developing allergies if a close relative has them. Typically, people who suffer from allergies are allergic to one or more of the following substances;

  •  Insect bites
  • Certain foods such as shellfish and nuts
  • Medications such as aspirin and penicillin
  • Pet dander from a dog or cat
  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold

Symptoms of Allergic Reactions

Your symptoms may be mild if you are exposed to an allergen for the first time. However, the symptoms usually vary from mild to severe. If you come into contact with the allergen repeatedly, then these symptoms may get worse.

Mild Reaction

Mild allergic reaction symptoms include;

  •  Rash
  •  Itching
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Hives (red spots on the skin which are itchy)
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat

Severe Reaction

In most cases, severe allergic reactions are caused by medications, insect stings, and foods. They have the following symptoms;

  • Nausea and vomiting
  •  Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Wheezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Flushed face
  • Unconsciousness
  • Difficulty swallowing

A short while after exposure to an allergen, you can develop a severe and sudden allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. It can lead to life-threatening symptoms such as;

  • Inability to breathe
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Swelling of the airway

Since anaphylaxis can cause death, you should immediately seek emergency help if you experience it.

Diagnosis of Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions are diagnosed by an allergist or a primary care physician. The doctor may order some tests to determine what is causing your allergy. The most common types of allergy tests are;

  • Blood tests
  • Challenge (elimination-type) tests
  • Skin tests

Treatment of Allergic Reactions

Although over-the-counter antihistamines effectively deal with mild allergic reactions, you need to consult a doctor if you experience severe symptoms.

Treatment of Anaphylaxis

If someone close to you experiences an extreme allergic reaction, the first thing you have to do is to check whether they are still breathing. If needed, provide CPR and dial 911 or your local emergency services. Most people with known allergies usually have emergency medications and may need your help administering them. You must follow the following steps if the person is unconscious;

  1. Ensure they lie on their side
  2. Raise their legs
  3.  Put a blanket over them

How to Prevent an Allergic Reaction

After identifying the cause of your allergic reaction, take the following preventive measures;

  •   Avoid or minimize exposure to the allergen.
  •  If you are exposed to the allergen, seek immediate medical care
  •  Always carry medications to help with anaphylaxis

Although it may be impossible to avoid an allergic reaction altogether, the measures can help prevent future reactions.

You have a good chance for recovery when you seek treatment after a mild allergic reaction. Always carry an epinephrine auto-injector if you have severe allergic reactions. It would be best if you never forgot that prompt medical care is necessary to improve your outcome.