ALLERGY INFORMATION

Allergy information

An allergy or an allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to allergens such as pollen.

Allergies are very common and affect more than 1 in 4 people in the UK. Allergies are particularly common in children, some allergies disappear or get better as a child gets older, however many allergies are lifelong conditions.

An individual can develop an allergy to foods or substances they weren’t previously allergic to in their adulthood.

Common Allergens:

  • Grass and Tree Pollen – an allergy to these is known as Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis.
  • Dust Mites – this is an allergic reaction to the dander produced by the dust mites
  • Animal Dander – Flakes of skin or hair from a cat, dog or small pet.
  • Food – Food allergies commonly include Nuts, Fruits, Shellfish, eggs and Cow’s Milk (Lactose).
  • Insect bites and Stings
  • Medication – such as Ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
  • Latex – Used to make some gloves and condoms
  • Mould – Mould releases small particles into the air that you can breathe in.
  • Household Chemicals – such as detergents and hair dyes.

 

The Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions happen quite rapidly with the individual affected to the Allergen within minutes of exposure.

Allergens can cause:

  • Sneezing
  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Red, itchy and watery eyes
  • Wheezing and Coughing
  • A red, itchy rash

 

Worsening of Asthma or Eczema symptoms. Most allergic reactions are mild, however occasionally a sever reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can occur. This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.

How to manage your Allergy

In most cases the most effective and ideal way of managing your allergy is to avoid the allergen that caused the reaction.

If you have a food allergy you should always check a food’s ingredient list for allergens before eating it.

There are many medications available to help control the symptoms of allergic reactions. These include:

  • Antihistamines – Antihistamines can be taken when you notice the symptoms of your allergic reaction, or before you are exposed to the allergy to stop the reaction from occurring.
  • Decongestants – come in forms such as tablets, capsules, nasal sprays and liquid that can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose.
  • Lotions and creams such as moisturising creams Emollients are used to help reduce redness and swelling caused by an Allergic reaction.
  • Steroid Medication – come in forms such as sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets. They can be used to help reduce redness and swelling caused by the allergic reaction.

(Source: NHS Choices)

External Links

For more information about Allergies you can visit:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Allergies/Pages/Introduction.aspx

You can find more information about Allergies at the following links:

Allergic rhinitis

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rhinitis—allergic/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Anaphylaxis

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anaphylaxis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Antihistamines

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Antihistamines/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Food allergy

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/food-allergy/Pages/Intro1.asp

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