Symptoms of Allergies

The symptoms and signs of allergic rhinitis are:
  • coughing and postnasal drip
  • itching eyes, nose and throat
  • sneezing, often accompanied by a runny or clogged nose
  • allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses)
  • watery eyes
  • conjunctivitis (an inflammation of the membrane that lines the eyelids, causing red-rimmed, swollen eyes and crusting of the eyelids)
  • the "allergic salute" (in a child, persistent upward rubbing of the nose that causes a crease mark on the nose)
The signs and symptoms of eczema, contact dermatitis and urticaria are:
  • red, itchy skin
  • welts (in hives)
  • inflamed skin
The signs and symptoms of asthma are:
  • breathlessness
  • a feeling of tightness in the chest
  • difficulty inhaling and exhaling
  • coughing
  • noisy breathing ("wheezing")

WARNING: If a person is experiencing more severe symptoms than what is listed above, they may be in anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylactic shock is a medical emergency which is an acute systemic (affecting the whole body) allergic reaction. It occurs after exposure to an antigen (allergen) to which a person was previously sensitized.

The signs and symptoms of anaphylactic shock include the general symptoms of a common allergic reaction, PLUS:
  • rapidly worsening symptoms (or previously severe reactions to this allergen)
  • wheezing, noisy breathing or shortness of breath
  • swelling of tissues such as lips or joints
  • rash or redness of the skin
  • anxiety
  • loss of consciousness
  • itching of the skin
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • convulsions
  • low blood pressure
  • chest pain and tightness
  • a feeling of warmth and flushing
  • itching of the mouth and throat
  • hoarseness, change of voice
  • the feeling of having to urinate
  • cramping of the uterus
  • sweating
  • confusion
Allergens more commonly associated with anaphylactic shock are: certain insect venoms; drugs such as penicillin; and foods like fish, peanuts, nuts, eggs and seeds.

Call 911 if any of these symptoms occur with an allergic reaction. If not treated promptly and properly, anaphylaxis can result in death. Fortunately, the tendency to have such serious reactions is rare.

Treatment of anaphylactic shock is first to inject adrenaline (epinephrine) to constrict the small blood vessels, raise the blood pressure and dilate the airway. This may be followed by injection of antihistamines and/or steroids, plus the use of life-support systems.


The Causes and Risk Factors of Allergies

The fundamental cause of allergy is not yet known. The problem tends to run in families. An allergic persons is more likely to have relatives who are allergic than would be expected on the basis of chance, but non-hereditary factors apparently play a role too. The reason an individual becomes sensitive to some substances and not to others remains a mystery.

Individuals can be affected by a variety of allergic diseases. Most often, allergic diseases are allergic rhinitis, non-allergic rhinitis, asthma, allergic dermatitis, contact dermatitis and hives. (Allergic rhinitis is the most common of allergic diseases and the main purpose of this profile health. Further information on other conditions May be found within this term.)

Allergic rhinitis is a general term used to apply to anyone who has allergy-based symptoms. Allergic rhinitis can be a seasonal problem (commonly known as "hay fever" or pollen allergy) or a year-round problem (commonly known as perennial allergic rhinitis). Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis is caused by allergy to pollens of trees, grasses, weeds or mold spores. Perennial allergic rhinitis is caused by house dust, animal danders, mold and some foods.

Asthma is caused by intrinsic and extrinsic (inhaled) factors. Intrinsic factors are pollens, dust, dust mites, animal fur, animal dander or feathers. Extrinsic factors are respiratory infections; a cough, cold or bronchitis; exercise and tobacco smoke or other air pollutants, and can be caused by an allergy to a particular food or medication.

Urticaria, also known as "hives", is caused by allergy to foods, such as nuts, tomatoes, shellfish and berries. Hives can also be caused by medications, such as aspirin and penicillin.

Contact dermatitis is caused by exposure to certain plants (such as poison ivy or poison oak), cosmetics, medications, metals and chemicals.

Eczema, also known as allergic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis, can be caused by foods or other allergens.


Prevention of Allergies To Animals

Some doctors strongly believe that a person who is allergic to an animal should find the creature a new home. This is certainly the best treatment.

But getting rid of a cat or dog can be a sad story when the pet is loved. And unfortunately, people who have not had much exposure to animals may not develop an allergic reaction for many months, sometimes up to two years later. By this time, the pet may have become a member of the family.

Anyway if you want your pet stay in your house then you should not brush or wash a cat or dog yourself if you are allergic to it. Nevertheless, the animal should be kept well groomed, with a good brushing or washing each week. The undercoat should be clipped and combed regularly, especially in spring.

If your pet groomer is too expensive, grooming is a good chore for a young child or teenager. The animal can be washed and dried in a bathroom, then put towels in the laundry. Brushing should be done outside the home. The brush and comb should be washed afterward. An allergic person should not empty a cat litter box or should wear a mask while doing so.

To restricting a pet's range, the first step is to keep the animal outside the bedroom. Then, being held away from your favorite chair or sofa. A cat or dog should have its own bed of pet house. If the pet has a particular chair or sofa it rests on, it may help to cover that piece of furniture with a sheet. Wash the sheet daily or at least regularly.

Allow the pet to spend some time outside, if possible. This solution is especially appropriate if the pet is a dog or rabbit since a doghouse or hutch will allow the pet to spend time outside comfortably and safely.


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