What is an allergy?
Allergy is an altered reaction of the body’s immune system to allergens, such as dust, mold, pollen, animal allergens – feathers, saliva. Usually the immune system protects us, but for an allergic patient, if the immune system works in the wrong way, it can lead to a specific manifestation of the allergy and further to an allergic disease.
Allergies arise from the interaction of two factors – the genes we inherit and the external environment. The genetic chance of inheriting allergies depends on whether the parents have allergic diseases. If both parents have allergic diseases, there is a good chance, even 50% to 70%, that the child has it. If no parent has an allergic disease, then the child has only a 5% chance of developing the disease. Allergies often affect children and adolescents, so allergist I. Grīsle recommends testing at first suspicion, as allergies can last a lifetime.
Allergens and their manifestations
There are various allergens both naturally and indoors that can cause allergic reactions. The most common allergens in the spring and summer are pollen, in the fall, when it is cool and humid, it can be an allergen outside. Internal allergies are most commonly caused by dust mites, fungi and pets living in the dust. Allergy tests and tests can be performed in medical facilities to find out what is causing the specific symptoms.
The allergist will remind you that an allergy is an inflammation and, if left untreated, the organ that affected it will continue to damage, and the symptoms will depend on it. The symptoms are the same for all allergens, but the severity of their manifestation depends on the allergen, for example, a particularly strong allergen is internal, which can cause severe asthma attacks.
The most common symptoms of allergic respiratory distress – allergic rhinitis and asthma – runny nose, itching, sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath.
How to treat allergies?
Go to a doctor! If you develop symptoms and suspect allergies, you should see a doctor, because nowadays there are different ways to deal with and live with them. First aid if you feel you have an allergy may be antihistamine medications to relieve symptoms, but the allergist does not recommend self-medication – it is better to see a family doctor or specialists who will recommend further treatment on time. It is important that medications for inhalation are now available that successfully help relieve allergy symptoms. A relatively new method is immunotherapy, or taming an allergen, which is intended for a specific person against certain allergens, but is not suitable for everyone.
Avoid the allergen! It would be wiser to try to prevent a certain allergen – if there is no contact, there will be no relevant manifestations, so it is important to investigate to find out what this allergen is.
Control the environment around you! Stop smoking, as it can significantly provoke allergies. Work factors must also be taken into account – if the work takes place in harmful conditions, then allergic treatment will fail.
Recommendations and preventive measures
Allergist I. Grīsle emphasizes that poor quality air in the home has a significant impact on human health, especially air quality is important for patients with respiratory allergies. If the nose works properly, it hydrates, warms and cleanses the air, but in an allergic patient with an allergic rhinitis, the nose does not perform this function.
Because Latvia has a temperate, humid climate, attention should be paid to indoor air safety, as 40-60% is recommended. When the air in the house is wetter and warmer, dust mites can multiply, while when the air is wetter and cooler, mold can appear. Each allergen has its own favorite environment in which it develops.
If it’s an allergen, then it is advisable to thoroughly clean the house and ventilate the grounds. Air purification with special equipment can be an effective tool, because filters have a beneficial effect. They help to filter the air, remove various allergens, bacteria and viruses, and maintain an optimal humidity in the house, thus reducing irritation of the airways.
If mold has appeared in the house, this is a serious problem that should not be overlooked. In case of mold, the humidity in the house should be reduced as it is recommended to make repairs in the area to remove mold.
If the allergen is a dust mite, it is advisable to wash the laundry at a temperature of 60 degrees, remove carpets, large, thick fabrics and ventilate the room thoroughly.
If allergies are caused by animals – An allergy test should be performed before you buy a pet to find out which animal is causing the allergy. It is also advisable to clean the house thoroughly and to avoid close contact with the pet.
On the other hand, if the allergy is caused by pollen, it is recommended to ventilate the room at night and not to open the windows when the sun is shining and there is wind. A person can bring pollen to the house after a walk, so it is recommended to rinse your face, change clothes. When going outside, it is necessary to wear sunglasses and in general it is recommended during the pollen season to reduce outdoor activities, especially jogging, because pollen can enter the airways to a greater extent, some more severe allergic reactions can cause. People with allergies during the pollen season are advised to relax, for example on the beach, not in the woods or meadows.
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