An allergy is a reaction the body must normally harmless substances, such as pollens, foods, and medicines. Usually, these substances pose no problem. If you are allergic to a particular substance, your body identifies them as a threat and reacts. Some allergies begin in childhood and go away as a child gets older; although many are life-long. Adults can develop allergies to things they were not previously allergic to.
Having an allergy can be a nuisance, affecting your everyday activities. Most allergic reactions are mild and can be controlled. Severe reactions occasionally occur, but these are not common.
Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. The more common allergens include:
grass and tree pollen an allergy to these is known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
animal dander (tiny flakes of skin or hair)
food: particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs and cow's milk
insect bites and stings
medication: including ibuprofen, aspirin, and certain antibiotics.
latex which is used to make some gloves and condoms.
Mould: these can release small particles into the air that you can breathe in
Household chemicals â€“ including those in detergents and hair dyes
Most of these allergens are generally harmless to people who are not allergic to.
Allergic reactions usually happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
They can cause:
a runny or blocked nose
red, itchy, watery eyes
wheezing and coughing
a red, itchy rash
worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Most allergic reactions are mild. Occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can occur. This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.
The best way to deal with allergies is to avoid an allergen which would prevent you from getting a reaction.
There are also a few medications called anti-histamines which could help treat allergic reactions when you get it.
If you struggle to find the cause of your allergies you could be sent for testing which could help pinpoint the allergen.
When do you get in touch with Sandsclinic?
If your allergy is particularly severe or it is not clear what you're allergic to, we could refer you to an allergy specialist. This is for testing and advice about avoiding allergens, or for treatment of your symptoms.
We could also provide different options for management of your allergies.