Allergies... What a nightmare?


Little girl clearing her nose

An annoying itch in the… we’ll leave you to fill in the blank. As anyone who reads this article knows an allergy in some cases can be a serious issue. Okay! Having to constantly wipe your runny eyes, clear your nose and sneezing until the cows come home, all potential symptoms of a hayfever is understandably very annoying to the sufferer.


The summer sunshine welcome to many of us can be a nightmare to those who have no choice but to tolerate hayfever. Not sure if the medication does anything to help alleviate or relieve the symptoms.


Aaachew! Where’s that tissue?


Allergies vary from sufferer to sufferer. It could be a seasonal hayfever or as something very serious such as a food allergy. Whatever the allergy, only the person enduring the symptoms bears the annoyance of a constant runny nose or the potential dangers of an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts. This potentially life-threatening condition is called Anaphylaxis.


The sensitivity of the anaphylactic reactions also vary. For some, it may even only take a whiff from a nut to react or come into contact with non-allergic foods that have been handled in the same manufacturing process with allergic foods. It’s why the nature of such an allergy is taken very seriously.


To sum up, the definition of an allergy is an abnormal reaction to an allergen or ‘trigger’ substance. The most common allergens are plant pollen that usually causes hayfever. Animal hair, bee stings, medication, nuts, and shellfish are other allergens to name a few.


Stat


“A staggering 44% of British adults now suffer from at least one allergy and the number of sufferers is on the rise, growing by around 2 million between 2008 and 2009 alone. Almost half (48%) of sufferers have more than one allergy – that is around 10 million people”


Source: https://bit.ly/2W4dJsG - Allergy UK


Types of allergies


Medication


Allergies to medication occur in only a small number of people. Most reactions are often side effects of the medicine. The cause of the reaction is usually based upon the casualty’s history and symptoms. Sometimes skin testing is also necessary to establish if the casualty is allergic to a certain type of medication.


Food


There are different types of allergic reactions to foods such as IgE-mediated allergies (Immunoglobulin E), non-IgE mediated allergies, and food intolerances.


With IgE-mediated the antibodies cause the allergic reaction to food. The reactions typically occur immediately after the ingestion of an allergen.


Non-IgE mediated food allergies are caused by a reaction involving other areas of the immune system and not from IgE antibodies. The reactions are delayed and take up to 48 hours to develop after the ingestion of food and usually relate to reactions in the digestive tract such as vomiting, bloating, or diarrhoea.


Insect


Bees and wasps are the most common stinging insects that cause an allergic reaction. Non-stinging insects can also cause allergic reactions such as cockroaches and the insect-like dust mites. Allergies to these two insects may be the most common cause of year-round allergy and asthma.

Dust


For people with dust allergies, the home can trigger uncomfortable symptoms. Usually, the allergy symptoms exacerbate during or immediately after vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting. The cleaning process can stir up dust particles making them easier to breathe.


People with dust mite allergies often suffer the most inside their homes. They are one of the most common indoor allergens, and symptoms can be present all year-round. Dust mite allergy can also trigger asthma or cause eczema.


Latex


A latex allergy is a reaction to natural rubber latex. Natural rubber latex gloves, balloons, condoms, and other natural rubber products contain latex. An allergy to latex can be a serious health risk.


Pollen


Pollen is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies know as hayfever.


Pet


Allergies to pets with fur are common. It is important to know that an allergy-free (hypoallergenic) breed of dog or cat does not exist.


Mould


Mold and mildew are fungi. Fungi grow in so many places both indoors and outdoors. Allergic reactions can occur all year-round.


What is considered a severe allergic reaction?


A severe allergic reaction can develop in seconds when a casualty comes into contact with an allergen they are sensitive to. It has the potential to affect the entire body. A delay in treating the reaction could be serious. This is called anaphylactic shock. To understand the severity of a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylactic shock or Anaphylaxis, there are a plethora of resources available.


Various charities, such as Allergy UK, offer detailed information and guidance on allergies. And that’s just the start. Short online courses https://bit.ly/3bQsd60, statutory classroom-based first aid courses specifically the Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work and the Level 3 Award in Paediatric First Aid cover the signs and symptoms, and how to deal with a casualty suffering from an allergic reaction.

Allergy and Coronavirus (Covid-19)


For up to date information on allergies and it’s relation to Coronavirus, Allergy UK, have compiled a comprehensive list of FAQ’s. The page is accessible via the link below:


https://www.allergyuk.org/get-help/resources/1225-coronavirus-and-allergy-faqs