What you need to know about allergies

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The timing of an allergy provides a good indication of the source of the responsible antigen.

Let’s take an example. Your neighbor has the annoying habit of placing garbage bags on your property. In itself, this gesture is not threatening, but you are afraid that squirrels or raccoons end up one day by disemboweling bags and spread at home garbage neighbor. A normal reaction would be to ask your neighbor not to put his green bags on your property. On the other hand, if you leave with a rifle and shoot down your neighbor and all his family, it is very likely that you have a lot of problems to deal with afterward. Allergy is a bit like this example. Your organization considers a foreign element to be a real threat when that is not the case. He will still make every effort to eliminate this intruder and this will cause you problems. The intruder in question is usually a different protein than your own genes make, so we call it an antigen. As your body wants to eliminate these antigens, it will synthesize an effective weapon: an antibody that in turn triggers a powerful series of defense reactions. One of the first soldiers to arrive will be histamine, which will cause the mucous membranes to secrete as much mucus as possible to prevent the antigen from entering the cells. This reaction, called inflammatory, is very appropriate when it comes to a real threat like a virus or another microbe, but here, in the case of an antigen, it is disproportionate and finally brings only inconvenience: nasal congestion, sneezing, inflammation of the bronchi, cough,

What are you allergic to?

The timing of an allergy provides a good indication of the source of the responsible antigen. So if your discomfort appears early in the spring, it is quite possible that the pollen of trees and shrubs are responsible. If the allergy comes in the middle of summer, it is probably more pollen from grass plants such as corn, wheat, hay, etc. Finally, if the problems occur in the fall, it is usually herbaceous plants such as ragweed or even the lawn that spread their pollen, especially from July to October. Knowing what you are allergic to can help you a lot to avoid as much as possible to be in contact with the allergen responsible.

Avoidance methods

Pollen allergies or other airborne proteins are more intense in hot, dry and windy weather. The dry and warm weather allows these substances to fly higher in the air and the wind transports them everywhere. These are days when those who are allergic should limit their outdoor hikes as much as possible and keep the windows closed. The air conditioning can then help them. On the other hand, rainy days are the perfect time for these people to ventilate their homes. Pollens in a humid atmosphere remain close to the ground. Wearing sunglasses avoids direct contact between the allergen in the air and the lining of the eye. It can reduce or even avoid itchy eyes. Do not let your clothes dry outside. Wet fabrics hanging on a clothesline filter the air by accumulating pollen between their fibers. These are the sheets stuffed with pollen in which you will sleep tonight; a night of coughing, sneezing and congestion is to be expected if you are allergic.


If, while avoiding contact with the allergenic substance, your symptoms persist to spoil your existence, there are various solutions. Progressive desensitization can be effective for various allergies. This therapy (DPE) consists of injecting an enzyme to which a very low concentration of the allergen is added. These injections are repeated by gradually increasing the dose of allergen for a period of 2 to 3 months. Other than ECD, several medications can help relieve symptoms such as antihistamines, corticosteroids (example: cortisone) and bronchodilators (example: Ventolin).

Tips for use

Allergies should not be taken lightly. It must be remembered that an individual allergic to a substance is much more likely to become allergic to other allergens than someone who does not suffer from any allergies. Cigarette smoke is a powerful irritant that promotes more frequent and more severe allergy outbreaks; so it is to be avoided. Dust is the number two enemy of the allergy sufferer; to avoid too.

The most severe allergies

Here, it is no longer about mild symptoms, but rather complications that can be serious or even fatal. They are found particularly in two cases: asthma and food allergies.


It could be described simply by saying that asthma is an allergic reaction of lung tissue. In short, the bronchi and their ramifications begin to swell thus decreasing the air entering the lungs. People with asthma should be able to identify as best as possible the factors that cause an asthma attack. Note that today with adequate medication and a suitable program of physical activities the vast majority of people with asthma can hope to live a normal life not by eliminating, but by controlling their asthma.

Food allergies

It is an allergic reaction that occurs after ingesting a food or any food additive. The foods that elicit the most reactions among those who are allergic to it are peanuts, fish, shellfish and their by-products, milk, and eggs. Of course, some people may be allergic to other foods such as nuts, wheat, sesame, sulfites, etc. We must avoid confusing a food intolerance that does not cause allergic symptoms with a real allergy. What is most to fear in food allergies is an anaphylactic shock. It is a severe allergic reaction that can affect several systems (gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiovascular, etc.) and, untreated, can be fatal.

Mouth: Itching in the lips, tongue, palate followed by swelling of these parts. We perceive a metallic taste in the mouth.

Skin: Redness, rash, itching, hives, and feeling of warmth.

Digestive system: Nausea, stomach pain or cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Breathing: Tightening at the throat. Difficulty swallowing. In young children, crying will be changed. Itching in the nose and in the ears. Nasal congestion with discharge. Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. A persistent cough, hoarse voice. Bluish color of the skin.

Heart: Fast and weak pulse. Pale, cold sweats, Weakness, unconsciousness, dizziness, chest pain, drop in blood pressure.

At the first sign of these symptoms, epinephrine (EpiPen®, Twinject®) should be administered. Of course, people with food allergies should avoid consuming any food that contains or has been in contact with the allergen they are sensitive to, which is not nearly as simple as it seems.

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