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Finding Out About Allergies

Yves Kelly

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An allergic reaction is the result of the body coming into contact with a substance that it has not encountered before. Normally, the body has a defence mechanism to combat the “allergen" by developing an immunity which allows the body to tolerate the substance on consequent encounters, however in the case of the allergy sufferer this does not happen and the symptoms of allergy ensue. The contact maybe in the form of, inhaling, swallowing or on the surface of the skin.

Symptoms can include:

Watery and itchy eyes,
Urticaria (hives/rash on the skin),
Itchy respiratory tract (nose throat),

In severe cases anaphylaxis can occur, where parts of the body swell leading to restricted breathing and a significant drop in blood pressure. This type of allergy can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Allergens may take various forms such as food substances, leading to allergies which may include the above symptoms and/or stomach disturbances. Symptoms which include stomach cramps/disturbances are usually classed as a food intolerance rather than an allergy meaning that it does not involve the immune system. Other forms of allergen may be animal hair, pollen and dust which will usually cause all or a combination of the above symptoms.

Allergy Testing

There are 3 tests which may be performed to ascertain a particular allergy. These tests are:

Skin Prick Test - allergen is placed onto the skin and pricked through with a needle through to the surface of the skin. (This is not usually performed if anaphylaxis is suspected).

Patch Test - Commonly used for skin disorders which may be the result of an allergen where the substance is placed on the skin and covered for 48 hours.

Intradermal Test - The allergen is syringed into the top layer of the skin causing a small bubble to appear on the surface of the skin

Other tests which involve food allergies include elimination diets where a suspected food is removed from the diet (or a variety of foods) then gradually reintroduced with monitoring.

Allergy Relief

A popular relief for allergy symptoms is the use of anti-allergy medication in the form of anti-histamine tablets. However there are natural methods that can be implemented to reduce or irradiate allergy symptoms. Some of these include, air filters and dehumidifiers, eating natural antihistamine foods such as garlic, onion and citrus fruits, keeping a “allergen free" house with regular cleaning of the carpets, curtains and bed sheets etc - around once a week. It is also advisable to stay indoors when the pollen count is high.

Some methods are not always practical in every day life, however there are many natural ways to reduce allergy symptoms which can be easily incorporated and maintained for a more comfortable standard of life.

Yves Kelly writes on health and fitness related issues. You can learn more by visiting my blog, Natural Methods to Fight Allergies -


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