According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. Over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.
The cause of an allergy derives from overreactions to substances by the immune system, in which other people are generally not affected. These allergens can cause sneezing, coughing, and itching. Some of the most common allergens include:
• Animal hair
• Dust and dust mites
• Insect bites
• Mold; and
Common symptoms of allergens include:
• watery and/or swollen eyes
• stuffy or runny nose
• a rash or hives
• stomach cramps; and
The most severe allergic reaction is known as Anaphylaxis. According to the CDC, symptoms of Anaphylaxis include flush, tingling of the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, or lips, light-headedness, and chest-tightness. Anaphylaxis can result in death.
Allergies can range from slightly bothersome to severe and life-threatening. According to the CDC, anyone can develop an allergy at birth or at any age during their lifetime. There is no way to prevent allergies; however, research has shown that breastfed babies are less likely to get allergies and asthma.
Allergic reactions can be prevented by taking the necessary medication, staying away from certain foods, eliminating dander and dust mites, or staying inside according to the allergen.
It is important to know what necessary precautions to take for your allergies. If you think you may be allergic to a specific substance, schedule an allergy test with your health provider.