Allergies are more common than ever with almost half of the population worldwide having experienced an allergic reaction at least once in their lifetime. Up to 40 percent of children suffer from allergic rhinitis. And children are more likely to develop allergies if one or both parents have allergies. Often, we can simply misattribute an allergy symptom as an age-related change in our body, a flu or some other health condition.
Normally, allergens are harmless. But when a person has allergies, the body thinks these allergens are harmful. The body then attacks allergens with antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies are attached to special cells called mast cells. Allergens stick to the antibodies. This makes the mast cells release histamine and other chemicals causing an allergic reaction. When the chemicals irritate nearby nasal tissue, this causes nasal allergy symptoms. When this happens in the lungs’ breathing tubes, it can cause asthma symptoms such as cough and wheeze. When the reaction involves the whole body, this can be a severe allergic reaction.
Allergies can affect anyone. It doesn’t matter regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. Generally, allergies are more common in children. But allergies can happen at any age. And they can come back after being in remission for many years. Allergies tend to happen in families. But the exact reason isn’t yet understood. Allergy symptoms often happen slowly over time.
These are some silent signs of allergies that you might mistake for something else.
1. A (Kind Of) Stuffy Nose and Sore Throat
Long-lasting sneezing, with a stuffy or runny nose, may signal the presence of allergic rhinitis—the collection of symptoms that affect the nose when you have an allergic reaction to something you breathe in and that lands on the lining inside the nose.
If you have specifically noticed asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, your kid may have allergies.
2. Itchy, Irritated or Swollen Skin
Does your skin feel itchy and irritated, even though you’re moisturizing it and don’t see any rash or breakouts? Or do you wake up with a somewhat swollen face or eyelids in the morning? These signs may be a symptom of an allergy.
And though it is true that people with dry skin can also experience skin itching, especially in the winter, a constant itchiness should still be a warning sign for you. If swelling and itchiness is accompanied by other symptoms, such as headaches, a stuffed nose, or any other symptom we mention on this list, it may be caused by an allergy.
Foods, medications, supplements, fragrances, detergents, or anything else, really, can provoke these symptoms. You can be allergic to specific laundry detergents, for example, which can cause headaches, irritability, swelling and skin itching because we use it to clean our clothes, sheets and towels.
3. Experiencing Headaches, Fatigue and Irritability
Allergies can take a toll on your mental health, too, causing irritability and nervousness. It makes sense, too, if you think about it, as it is very nerve-wracking indeed to feel slightly sick, itchy and swollen without a definite idea if it’s just a new normal for you, or a cause of concern. Other related symptoms are exhaustion, mental tiredness and headaches. These two symptoms make you feel less focused and alert, too, which can really affect your productivity and life satisfaction.
4. Persisting Rash or a Recurrent Flare Up
If you experience skin rashes that flare up from time to time, possibly every season, it may indicate that you have an undiagnosed allergy. It doesn’t have to be allergic hives either, rosacea, eczema, acne and other skin conditions can all worsen due to an allergy. Also, keep in mind that allergies are often systemic, which means that a rash on your back or on the tops of your hands, for example, can be caused by a food allergy or even an allergy to cat fur, and not necessarily a product that contacted with your hands or back.
5. A Persisting Cold or Sinus Infection
A cold or sinus infection that doesn’t go away for a long time may be an allergy in disguise, especially when a treatment with antibiotics proves ineffective. This is especially true about seasonal allergies. In fact, patients with serious undiagnosed allergies often mistake them for a respiratory infection and complain to the doctor about a cold or sinusitis, when in reality they just have an allergy.
6. Sensitive or Watery Eyes
One of the most common contact allergy symptoms are uncontrollably itchy eyes, but it rarely happens that you have such a strong reaction to an allergen that your eyes immediately turn red and start itching like crazy. If you feel that your eyes become more sensitive or watery when you’re outside and it’s windy, for example, it may indicate a dust allergy. It is also often the case that some skincare or makeup products can make your eyes watery or red. As it is the case with all of these symptoms, you should observe and see if any other allergy symptoms accompany it, and if so, it may be worth a visit to a doctor.
7. Feeling Sick Only Outdoors or In a Specific Building
Are you experiencing headaches and itchiness only when you’re in school? Or, on the other hand, you feel tired and your nose is runny only when you spend time outside? It can mean that you have an allergy to a specific object found outdoors or indoors, be it pollen, mold, animals or anything else.
Many things can trigger allergic reactions. But the most common triggers or allergens are:
- Tree, grass, and weed pollens
- Natural rubber latex
- Dust mites
- Animal dander, urine, and oil from skin
- Bee stings
- Pests such as cockroaches and mice
Allergy treatment: The 3 most effective ways to treat allergies are avoidance, allergy shots (immunotherapy), and medicine. Avoidance means staying away from something that gives you an allergic reaction.
Suggestions for staying away from allergens are:
- Stay indoors when the pollen count is high and on windy days.
- Control dust in the home, particularly your child’s bedroom.
- Use air conditioning instead of opening the windows.
- Put a dehumidifier in damp areas of the home. But remember to clean it often.
- After playing outside when the pollen counts are high, have your child take a bath or shower, wash his or her hair, and change clothes.
Take vacations in areas where pollen is not as common, such as near the ocean.
Takeaway: If you experience a combination of the symptoms for an extended period of time, try to look for patterns and understand what product, object or animal could be triggering these symptoms. Keep a diary.
You physician or an allergologist will also help you figure out what might be causing your allergy and if it’s maybe something else, as well as be able to prescribe a suitable treatment. In the end, it is important to treat even minor allergy symptoms, as they can really affect your daily life, confidence and life satisfaction.
Source: Internet & Others
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The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.