Allergies can be vague and various in nature. They don’t discriminate and can strike at any time, even if you have never been affected by them. But why are some people affected and others not, and how can you make life easier for yourself if you are one of the unlucky ones?
Reasons we are often affected by allergies as adults can include the fact that it’s genetic, many people find, when they ask their parents, that there's a history of allergies in the family. Another reason might be that you took a lot of antibiotics as a child, some studies suggest this could make you more likely to develop allergies as an adult. It’s not an exact science but developing a sudden allergy in adulthood nearly always happens after something has shaken up the immune system, including menopause or a period of extreme emotional stress.
It is now widely accepted that allergies are caused by an overly sensitive immune system. Contrary to popular belief, an allergy always develops to something you've been exposed to before, so don't think you can't become allergic to peanuts just because you've eaten them many times. An allergy happens when antibodies in our immune system overact to something harmless they see as a threat. They trigger the production of histamine, which causes the symptoms we associate with allergies. Histamine’s job is to get the foreign matter out of your body and away from your blood stream so the ‘infection’ cannot spread. So it produces a sluice box of fluid to wash it out and a thick stream of mucus to trap these particles and carry it away. To protect your main organs, the blood vessels of the stomach, lungs and bladder contract to avoid absorbing the circling enemy and so the response is often accompanied by wheezing, coughing, streaming eyes and nose.
If you are running low on vitamin A, studies suggest that you may be more likely to experience allergies and even asthma problems. Some foods which are said to help you increase your levels of Vitamin A are Pumpkin, Kale and carrots. In addition, crucifers, like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, can clear out stuffy sinuses. A natural antibiotic, garlic is useful in many ways as it contains quercetin, which takes on the capabilities of an antihistamine. Another useful herb surprisingly is stinging nettle. When your body has an allergic reaction, it produces histamine. The histamines contained within stinging nettle may help you build up a tolerance for allergic reactions and help strengthen your system. Experts suggest taking three 500 mg freeze-dried tablets a day, but only when you are experiencing allergies. You can also brew tea using nettle leaves, which is another popular way to reap its benefits. However, long-term use can deplete your potassium, so be sure to talk to your doctor prior to introducing stinging nettle, or any other herbs, to your diet.
Our eyes are often the first organ to respond when a foreign substance is in the air. The symptoms of an eye allergy can range from mildly annoying redness to inflammation severe enough to impair vision. The primary types of eye allergy are seasonal or perennial allergic conjunctivitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, atopic keratoconjunctivitis, contact allergic conjunctivitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis. If symptoms persist or over-the-counter remedies do not bring relief, see an allergist, who will review your medical history and symptoms and conduct tests that can reveal an eye allergy.
The best thing you can do for your eyes in the meantime is avoid harsh soaps, perfumes and makeup that will only cause your body to up the ante on the invasion. Instead, pay attention to your immune system by eating the above mentioned brightly coloured fruits and vegetables to increase your anti-oxidants and get a high dose of Omega 3 fatty acids. If all else fails try immunotherapy or allergy shots work by improving an individual’s tolerance to the substance that causes an allergic reaction. Tiny amounts of the allergen are injected with gradually increasing doses over time. The treatment takes several months to achieve maximum results, and you may still be required to use medications to alleviate symptoms. Hopefully with all this advice you’ll soon be ushering in Spring without the tears.
Date Published: 08 August 2017
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