Allergies Causes & Treatments

In Active Seniors, nutrition by Jerry RothouseLeave a Comment


There are many causes of allergies. Some people are allergic to foods such as nuts, chocolate, and shellfish, some to medicines. Some suffer from allergies to animal dander such as cats, some from seasonal allergies such as pollen in the springtime or ragweed in the late summer and fall. Some allergies bring on contact dermatitis in the form of hives or eczema.

The one thing all these allergies have in common is that there is no cure for any of them. Aside from allergies that are severe or bothersome enough to warrant allergy shots (immunotherapy) most people treat their allergy symptoms as they develop with over the counter antihistamines and decongestants.

75% of Americans who suffer from allergies are allergic to ragweed. Ragweed is the late summer early fall equivalent of springtime allergies, both are brought on by pollination of flowers. Most medical professionals suggest an over the counter decongestant or antihistamine to treat the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.

15% of Americans suffer from allergies to cats and/or dogs. There are ways to lessen the symptoms. Keep animals off of beds or any upholstered furniture as dander (the actual allergen from the skin of animals) can be transferred this way. Room purifiers will help remove the airborne dander. If possible remove any wall to wall carpeting. Linoleum, ceramic tile or wood flooring are best in a home with an allergy or asthma sufferer. A vacuum with a HEPA filer will help to further trap dander in carpeting. Pets can be washed weekly with shampoo formulated to remove dander.

It is said that 11 million Americans suffer from some type of food allergy. The symptoms of food allergy range from tingling in the mouth to swelling of the tongue and throat to more severe reactions that can actually result in death.

In the case of a food allergy it is best to have allergy testing performed by a professional. Some with food allergies suffer the risk of an unbalanced diet due to the need to avoid certain types of food. It is suggested that working with a nutritionist to create a sound and healthy diet is best. Some childhood food allergies go away with age. However, allergies to peanuts, fish, shellfish and nuts are considered lifetime allergies.

Skin allergies, or contact dermatitis is generally avoided by avoiding the allergen. Contact dermatitis can be caused by many different things and can be related to seasonal pollen allergy, animal allergy or food allergies. Most outbreaks of contact dermatitis result in skin outbreaks and hives which can be treated with over the counter antihistamines and topical creams.

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