Does your child have allergies? One out of every six children in the United States is allergic to one or more substances.
An allergy is caused by a sensitivity to a substance or substances that a person inhales, eats or has skin contact with. Our immune system is designed to protect us from bacteria, viruses and infections. It does this by making antibodies that kill the invaders. In people with allergies the antibodies attack normal harmless substances, which are then called allergens. Some common allergens are pollen, animal dander, mites, many foods, house dust and feathers.
Some symptoms of an allergy attack may be difficulty breathing, headaches, hives, redness, swelling or itching of the skin, nose bleeds, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and red itchy eyes. Another indication of allergies are dark shiny circles under the eyes and a puffy look to the face.
Some allergies are seasonal and some are year round. Seasonal allergies tend to be related to pollens and plants where the respiratory system is affected every year at the same time.
While chronic allergies are constant and are related to one of the other allergens that are in the environment year round such as dust, feathers or animal dander. Whether your allergies are seasonal or year round there is usually a family history of allergies.
If you think you or someone you know may suffer from allergies consult your doctor. When and if you do see your doctor he may order a skin test or blood test to see what exactly your allergies are. The skin test that a Doctor performs is also called scratch testing and is done by placing a small amount of a diluted allergen on a lightly scratched area of skin. If a bump occurs within a half hour then you are allergic to that allergen.
Another type of test a doctor does is by injecting the skin with a suspected allergen. If a red, itchy bump occurs then you are allergic to the allergen. Blood testing can also be done to measure the total levels of antibodies that are produced by the immune system. If the antibody level is elevated after being exposed to an allergen, then you are allergic to that allergen.
There are treatments you may seek for allergies; just consult with your doctor. Most important of all, try to at all times avoid what you think you may have an allergy to. If you have an allergy or sensitivity to a certain food, avoid that food if at all possible. If you think you are allergic to dust, be sure to keep your house dust free and always vacuum with a window opened. Buy a home air purifier to keep the air in your house clean and free of pollens, dander and dust. Things like this may help you to avoid an allergic reaction.
Other treatments that your physician can prescribe are antihistamines, decongestants, steroids, inhalants, and in very chronic cases a process of desensitization to the allergen.
This involves a gradually increasing injection of the allergen into the patient. Over a period of time the body will build up an immunity to the allergen. This requires careful supervision of a doctor and should only be done in cases where no other treatment has been successful.