Don’t take an allergic reaction for granted: while most allergy attacks are mild, they can still become severe or even fatal.
How does an allergy happen? When an allergen (a substance that triggers allergies) enters the body, the immune system produces chemicals called histamines.
These histamines have one job: to get rid of the allergens in your body. That’s why histamines trigger sneezing, runny nose, tears, and skin itching and rashes. These are all part of the effort to remove allergens from the body.
Risk of death
In rare cases, the reaction to histamines becomes too intense. This overreaction may trigger an anaphylactic shock. If untreated, anaphylactic shock may cause low blood pressure and/or respiratory and cardiac arrest–the affected person may die.
People who are prone to allergies are advised to carry antihistamines as treatment in case allergies are triggered. However, antihistamines are not effective in preventing/treating anaphylactic shock.
The recommended treatment for anaphylactic shock is epinephrine, which is a hormone. This is available in an auto-injector that can be bought in drug stores. Auto-injectors are shaped like pens and are pre-filled with one dose of epinephrine.
During anaphylactic shock, the auto-injector must be pressed, tip-first into a muscular area of the body, e.g., the thigh. This releases a spring loaded needle that will inject the epinephrine into the muscle.
Although it is a common condition, most people either lack information about allergies or believe a number of myths about the condition.
Don’t let ignorance risk your health or even your life. Here are five common allergy myths that you shouldn’t fall for:
- Eating just a small portion won’t trigger your food allergy
Eating a little amount of the allergen can trigger a severe reaction. It’s best to stay away from the food to live a healthy and safe life.
- The only way to avoid allergies is to dodge triggers
Whether the allergy is seasonal or persistent, always take precautionary measures while dealing with allergens.
In the meantime, there is no cure for allergies. However, there are readily available medications e.g., antihistamines, to reduce the symptoms.
- You can’t outgrow allergies
Most people develop allergies in their younger years although it disappears over time.
Experts say that when people grow older, they get more accustomed to the allergen, thus reducing the level of immune-system sensitivity.
According to Mayoclinic.org, about 60 to 80 percent of young children outgrow their allergies to milk and eggs by the age of 16. Research has shown that allergic sensitization is higher on younger people.
- Asthmatic people cannot exercise
Most people who are asthmatic are encouraged to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s not true that if one is asthmatic, he or she must avoid exercise.
If you are asthmatic, learn safe ways to exercise so that you can keep fit and healthy. Many athletes, in fact, are asthmatic, including world-famous soccer player David Beckham, Olympic diver Greg Louganis, and Olympic swimmer Tom Dolan.
It’s true that there is such a thing as Exercise-Induced Asthma (EIA). This can happen when an asthmatic breathes through the mouth during exercise; this causes dryness in the bronchial airways, resulting in inflammation and constriction.
However, EIA can be overcome or prevented. The health benefits of exercise still outweigh the risk of EIA.
- Food allergies are the same as food intolerance
Food allergies and food intolerances are not the same. Food intolerance can cause discomfort, while food allergies can be fatal.
Allergies shouldn’t be taken lightly and getting treatment can increase your quality of life.