"Spring is in the air. Everywhere you look around." Yes. It's that time of year again. The one we are pining for, round about the middle of January when we're just- OVER IT. With spring comes renewal, rejuvenation, energy, sunlight, and of course- ALLERGENS. Huh? What's that? An allergen (al-urge-in) is a substance that enters your body and is recognized by your antibodies (the things that ID and react to allergens), which in turn releases many chemicals we make in response to something our body doesn't like. This response is commonly referred to as an allergy. Lets take a closer look at allergies and how they affect us...
So what happens when I come into contact with an allergen? As stated above, an allergen enters your body (pollen enters through the nose/mouth) OR comes into contact with your body (detergents, poison oak, etc). Antibodies that have been produced to specifically recognize THAT thing, whatever it was, see that it is not something we want circulating, and attaches to it in order to counteract the allergen. What has to happen in order for antibodies to be produced? Exposure. This is why it can sometimes be the case that allergies develop after we have consumed or ingested or come into contact with something more than once or even multiple times. My kid was LOVING bananas until we found out he was allergic. He hadn't had time to mount a physical response yet (we didn't see anything), but there the antibodies were... What your reaction is to the allergen, will depend on what part(s) of the body were exposed, and just how allergic you are to the substance (think: anaphylaxis. that's a hard one, but it's life threatening. We'll talk about that in a minute... So, allergies could look like all of the following: hives; itchy, red, runny eyes; swollen eyes; swelling of the face/lips/tongue (you should see a dr. asap); asthma attacks; stomach upset/diarrhea/vomiting. Click here for more information on what an allergy might look like. This site is about food, but an allergic reaction to anything could cause the same symptoms. Here is a site about allergies in general. So what's important to know about managing an allergy? WHAT THE ALLERGEN IS and HOW TO AVOID/MINIMIZE YOUR EXPOSURE!
Let's talk about anaphylaxis. What is this? This is when the body has an over-reaction to an allergen and dumps so much chemical into the person's blood, that it sends them into shock. These symptoms develop quickly and worsen very fast, this is why this condition is life threatening. Here are the important things to know: EVERYONE is at risk for anaphylaxis- this can happen at any time, even if you do not have allergies (that you know of). If you have allergies, your risk is higher. If you have had an anaphylactic reaction before, you are at risk for repeated episodes. This MUST be treated in a medical facility- epinephrine is needed. Good ole Benadryl(Diphenhydramine) is NOT going to cut it! Get to the ER quickly- EVEN IF YOU'VE ALREADY TAKEN A DOSE OF EPINEPHRINE. Often times, more than one dose can be needed. Here's more information about anaphylaxis, how it's diagnosed, managed and treated. Keeping yourself safe- here are some things to help stay safe if you already carry an epipen: Wear an ID bracelet/tag; tell your family/friends/co-workers about the condition and what to do if you experience problems; seek treatment for your allergies; BE PREPARED! if you know you need an epipen, have one ready. If you have trouble affording one (which lots of people do), speak to your doctor, or call/visit the drug manufacturer website, they'll have coupons and deals to make medications more affordable. Click here to find out more about how to stay safe while managing this life-threatening condition.
How RNovations can help: RNovations Health is here to help. We provide community health seminars about managing conditions such as diabetes. There we assist people with learning the basics of their disease, medications, and treatments as well as how to make better choices one step at a time. We can help you with medication and nutrition review and counseling, that you can use to manage your health not only during the holidays, but every day thereafter. We also assist with health system navigation so that if you do need services, you are using the most effective mix of services. Give us a call at 804.386.4663 if you want to see how we can be of assistance to you or your group/community. You can also send us an email via the contact us page. We're here for you!
*The information contained above is for educational purposes only. Consult with your physician before making any changes to your diet or treatment regimen. Links provided above do not constitute and endorsement of any organization, rather that the information on the linked page has been verified.
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