Allergy season is back

  • 2010-05-05

Spring is a real test for those who have allergies. It is hard to enjoy the beautiful weather when you are constantly sneezing, your nose is running, your eyes are watery, your skin is itchy and you are all covered with blisters. Every fifth inhabitant of our planet suffers from some form of allergy, and the number of ill people is growing rapidly. The frequency of allergic diseases has increased by 3-4 times over the past 20 years.

Allergy, or how it is called scientifically “pollinosis” (from Latin “Pollin ‘- pollen) – is an immunity disease.
The condition when the body reacts with increased sensitivity to certain factors (allergens), that are essentially harmless to healthy people, is called an allergy. The body responds to these substances by producing its own substance - histamine. It is histamine that causes all allergic reactions.

An allergy can be caused by anything – things that surround us, that we eat, that we breathe. Today, allergens are: dust, insects, cleaning agents, pollen, pet hair, fruit (mostly citrus), drugs, sunlight etc.
Scientific research has proven that 25% of allergies are inherent. This chance increases by two or even three times if both parents suffer from allergies. And because of this, when a woman gets pregnant the gynecologist asks about the allergies of both parents. In other cases, the disease is acquired.

Dangerous pollen

With the coming of spring comes the most difficult time for people who are allergic to pollen. “It’s almost like you cannot leave the house at all” - they say, and, in fact, they are right.
Pollen causes an immune reaction in the body. Moreover, such a reaction can occur in any person. And don’t be surprised and wonder “why?”, even if no allergies were observed previously. This illness is still not fully researched. Allergies can appear suddenly, and then suddenly disappear.

So, if there are such symptoms as redness, vasodilatation, runny nose and sneezing, tearing eyes (in a certain time of the year), if a cold lasts more than a week, night cough for no reason, which disappears by morning – you should seek medical help. Many people try to cope with allergies on their own, and there are many who do not do anything about it at all. Often they are motivated by the fact that spring will pass and so will the allergies. What is so dangerous about this opinion? The fact is that the light allergic rhinitis has practically no effect on the quality of life. Whereas a moderate form can worsen the activity, disturb sleep, can cause headaches. People with severe allergies cannot sleep normally, work, study, do sports, relax. According to the studies of German specialists, asthma begins to develop in each third case of untreated allergies.

So do not hesitate to consult your doctor, because only timely and proper treatment can save your precious health. The doctor will also determine whether you really have an allergy. Often the cause of ailments, which people mistake for allergies, is actually a pseudo-allergy. It can be caused by eating foods rich in histamine (e.g., sausages, some sorts of cheese). If it’s really an allergy, the doctor will determine the cause of allergic reactions, and prescribe a corresponding course of treatment.

To find out what caused the allergy, clinics conduct special examinations: skin tests for the presence of specific antibodies, provocative tests. Modern medicine also offers a complete allergy and immunological examination.
Treatment and prevention of allergies

Unfortunately, there is no such remedy known to science, which would provide complete protection against allergies. Therefore, combating allergies is primarily focused on suppressing histamine and preventing contact with allergens. But if it is done professionally, it is possible to minimize the allergic reactions.

Allergies to pollen only occur during the flowering of plants. Therefore, during such dangerous times for allergic people, it is important to follow these rules:
- Try to minimize the access of pollen to skin and mucous membranes: close windows and doors tightly, refrain from hiking and picnics in the countryside, don’t stay too long outside in warm, dry and windy weather, as well as in the morning from 5 to 11 a.m. Outside the house always wear sunglasses.
- Upon returning home, change clothes and take a shower. After washing your clothes, do not dry them out in the street or an open balcony, as the pollen settles on them, and make a daily wet cleaning in your apartment.

During the rest of the time, you must refrain from cosmetics and detergents based on herbs. Exclude products which are produced from plants that cause allergies, from your diet. Do not keep bouquets of dried flowers in the house. Avoid any contact with the allergen, do not drink alcohol, do not smoke, and do not have any vaccinations during this period of time.
Before the onset of the flowering season, go through a special treatment course prescribed by the doctor. Otherwise, the symptoms of the disease will only become more complex every year.

If you must travel to another country or city, it is best to always have your allergy passport with you. Allergies can cause an anaphylactic shock and if there are no relatives or friends nearby, then the information from this passport can help the doctors to provide quality medical care easier and faster.


Are you allergic? (Test)

Experts suggest that in the third millennium allergy will be the most widespread disease. It is facilitated by worsening of the ecological environment and lifestyle in developed countries, where the frequency of allergic diseases is much higher. These are the side effects of civilization, the result of widespread use of antibiotics, energy-saving technologies in construction, synthetic materials used in the manufacture of furniture, interiors, sedentary lifestyle, etc.
However, it simply does not occur to many people that what they have is not a cold, it’s an allergy. To identify the allergic nature of rhinitis, that you or your family members may have, you can use the following test:

1.     Are you or were you ever allergic to anything?
Yes - 4 points, no - 0.

2.     Does anyone of your close relatives suffer from allergic diseases (pollinosis, allergic rhinitis, urticaria, bronchial asthma, neurodermatitis)?
Yes - 4 No - 0.

3.     During the year, how often do you have stuffiness in nose?
Always - 4 points, often - 3 sometimes - 2, rarely - 1.

4.     How often do you have a runny nose accompanied by sneezing and itching in the nose?
Always - 4 points, often - 3 sometimes - 2, rarely - 1.

5.     How often do you have a runny nose accompanied by itchy eyelids and watery eyes?
Always - 4 points, often - 3 sometimes - 2, rarely - 1.

6. For how long do you usually have a runny nose?
More than 2 weeks - 4 points, about 2 weeks - 3, about 5-7 days - 2, less than 3-4 days - 1.

7. Did you ever experience fits of wheezing or breathlessness?
Yes - 4 Points, No - 0.

8. Is the appearance of your rhinitis connected:
with the spring-summer period: Yes - 2 points, no - 0;
with the period of flowering of plants known to you: Yes - 2 points, no - 0;
with the cleaning of the apartment (working with a vacuum cleaner, wiping dust): Yes - 2 points, no - 0;
with night sleep: yes -2 points, no - 0;
with being close to animals (cats, dogs, hamsters): Yes - 2 points, no - 0;
with the use of certain products: Yes -2 points, no - 0.

9. Which of the following statements is true for you:
I cannot stand tobacco smoke and other harsh odors: Yes - 2 points, no - 0;
I constantly sneeze while cleaning the apartment: Yes - 2 points, no - 0;
When I pet a cat or a dog my eyes and nose become itchy: Yes - 2 points, no - 0;
After eating  certain products my skin becomes itchy: Yes - 2 points, no - 0.

10. During the flowering of plants do you have to use vasoconstrictive nasal drops?
Yes - 2 points, no - 0.

11. Have you ever used any anti-allergic drugs against rhinitis?
No - 2 points, Yes, but they had no effect - 0, yes, with good effect - 2.

If you score below 10 points - it is unlikely that your runny nose is somehow connected with allergies, if you scored between 10 and 15 points, you should discuss the likelihood of allergies with your doctor, if you score between 16 and 20, you should consult with an allergologist, if the score is 21 to 25, it is necessarily to undergo allergy examination and begin treatment, if you score more than 25 points, it is likely that in addition to allergic rhinitis you are also suffering from other allergic diseases.