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All About Allergies

May 01, 2014

An allergy is a bodily reaction to plants, animals, food, insect venom and other things that aren't harmful to most people. Staying indoors won't necessarily prevent your allergies because you can also get an allergic reaction from dust and mold.

Allergy Symptoms

Allergy symptoms are the result of too much immunity (no, not the Survivor kind). Your immune system protects you from diseases by producing antibodies that fight bacteria and infections. As great as it is, your immune system sometimes makes mistakes. It can overreact and release histamines, which are responsible for allergic reactions like that runny nose or itchy, watery eyes.

Having an Allergic Reaction

Allergies can cause several different reactions. Some allergens such as pollen cause sneezing, sore throats, runny noses and itchy eyes and ears. Food allergies can cause hives (an itchy skin rash), stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, stuffy noses and even wheezing. In case you're confused about whether you have allergies or a cold, the simplest way to tell the difference is colds don't make you feel all itchy. As well, allergy snot is thin and runny, whereas snot from a cold is thick and yellow.

Allergies AKA Hay Fever AKA Asthma AKA Hives...

Allergies have a bunch of names. When you have sinus problems like a runny nose, it's called hay fever or allergic rhinitis (the medical term). When an allergy occurs in your lungs, it's called asthma, but it's a food allergy if it happens in the stomach. And if you have an allergic reaction on your skin, it's called hives or angioedema, but if it's all over the body, like from a bee sting, then it's called anaphylaxis.

Treating Your Allergies

Besides always wearing a mask over your mouth, there are a few ways to control your allergies. Try to avoid whatever it is you're allergic to as much as possible. This doesn't mean skipping school or getting out of mowing the lawn, but just being a little precautious. You can take medications like antihistamines, or have a doctor prescribe something for you. Some allergies are serious and can even lead to life-threatening reactions, so get checked out by a doctor and always ask about the right medication to take.

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Poll

What Are You Allergic to?

  • Certain types of foods.
  • Pets and/or pollen.
  • Lots of different things.
  • I'm not allergic to anything.

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