On Allergies and Allergic Reactions

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Are you allergic to a particular food or substance? Are there specific instances that trigger your allergy? Then you should understand how allergies affect the body so you would know how to deal with your allergic reactions.

Understanding Allergies

Many people are allergic to a certain food or substance. In fact, in the United States, about seven million people are allergic to food. Common allergens include shellfish, nuts, milk, and wheat. Some cases of allergic reaction are so bad that some people end up being hospitalized. Worse, a few die from complications of allergy like anaphylactic shock, which has symptoms of swelling, gradual closure of air passageways, and a precipitous drop in blood pressure, due to extreme allergic reaction.

Allergic Reactions

As if things could not be worse, people allergic to a particular food or substance do not need to ingest these. For some, even touching food briefly or smelling it is enough. In a recent study published at the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Suzanne Teuber, it was revealed that people who were allergic to peanuts developed allergic reactions from kissing a person who had eaten nuts.

Most reactions Teuber recorded were mild: itching, swelling, and sneezing. However, allergies could have an additive effect; repeated exposures cause more intense allergic reactions. An implication of this is the possibility that mild rashes could soon worsen to breathing problems and even anaphylactic shock.

Another complicating factor behind allergies is the synergistic action of some substances in further fueling an allergic reaction. For example, ragweed and melons, share a protein that causes an allergy. Eating a melon could exacerbate allergic symptoms when one is exposed to ragweed.

How to Deal with Allergens

An important repercussion of this study is to take precaution against allergy-causing substances. For people with particularly sensitive systems, it goes a long way to ask others to avoid handling food you are allergic to. Reading food labels also helps. Being alert and observant of one’s symptoms, and immediately consulting a doctor once an allergic reaction starts also help in preventing shock and normalizing one’s condition.