An allergy, in the broadest sense of the word, is an extreme reaction of the immune system towards substances that it considers to be foreign matter. These foreign substances can be food particles, medication, animals and also dust, pollens, humidity and similar factors. Symptoms vary depending on the allergen triggering the allergy and some allergies progress very subtly.
While some symptoms are revealed from infancy, some allergies emerge in advanced ages. In the end, all types of allergies have deteriorating effects on the quality of life of the patient.
There are two important points to consider when defining allergies. We said they are caused by substances or other triggers that are foreign. In other words, allergens are substances not included in the main building blocks of the body but are taken from outside. When our body faces allergens, it naturally tries to protect itself. As the body tries to protect itself, it starts giving out abnormal responses to get attention from its owner regarding the danger it's facing. The type and severity of these reactions differ from person to person; however, some of the most common allergy symptoms are itching, grunting, dyspnea (for example, when someone allergic to something enters a dusty environment, the inner walls of their nose swell, making it harder to breathe), swelling or tissue malformations on the skin.
People with allergies are "atopic." Atopy is not a disease but rather a susceptibility to allergies that is usually hereditary, meaning family history is crucial to the development of certain allergies. If one of the parents has allergies, a newborn child is two or three times more likely to be allergic. If both parents have allergies, this risk is seven or eight times more than others. You can easily find out if you have allergies with a simple allergy test. What is important is determining what you're allergic to.
Epidermal allergy tests are applied to determine against what the body develops allergies. This easy-to-apply test usually requires use of no medication for a week (usually) and is carried out through markings on the skin. Allergens are dripped onto the sections separated by lines. Usually there's a 15-minute waiting time and then, the allergic reaction of the person is observed. Usually, bubbles and swelling are observed on the related areas. Sometimes blood tests are applied to determine allergies as well. An expert should decide which blood test is required. The method may vary according to the possible allergen and age.
Some allergens cause allergic shock, in other words anaphylaxis, which may even be fatal. Anaphylaxis affects two out of every 10,000 children. The most common age it's observed is between six and 15. Children may usually be allergic to certain food products including peanuts, nuts, milk and eggs, antibiotics and bee stings. The more allergic the child's body is, the faster the symptoms of anaphylaxis will be observed and the more critical the patient's condition will be. The body starts showing a reaction a few minutes after it comes into contact with the allergen. The symptoms hit a peak at the end of 20 minutes. In such situations, it's critical to immediately seek medical help. Don't forget that the level of allergen intake is also crucial. If you're allergic to a certain substance, coming in touch with even a little dose of it will be adequate for your body to show a reaction.
Adults may have more antibodies to fight against allergies than children. It is harder to determine how children need to be protected. Here, the liability lies with the adults. You especially need to inform school management of what your children are allergic to. There are simple precautions that can be taken to protect extremely allergic children against allergens.
In addition, you can prepare cards or tags for your children when they spend time away from you and have to eat outside, letting them carry around something that indicates the things they're allergic to and how others should act, ensuring that they carry these tags around like a necklace you can easily prepare and don't forget to warn them to show these to everyone that are offering them food. This is a very easy and beneficial precaution.
If your child is at the age that they can be aware of their allergy, explain to them along with an expert physician what they should avoid consuming. For example, if they're allergic to nuts or peanuts, teach them to avoid eating cakes, biscuits with nuts. The most important habit they can gain is to read the labels of what they eat.
Your child might get caught in play or may believe that small amounts of food containing allergens will not be harmful. In this case, you should let children or teacher of your child know about these allergies. Make sure you make their close circle aware of their condition.
If your child is allergic to bee stings, avoid dressing them in colorful clothes that reveal too much of their skin to the outdoors.
Make sure all kinds of vaccinations and other injections are carried out at hospitals. Don't leave the hospital right after receiving an injection. If an allergen has been injected, reactions may start within 15 to 20 minutes, thus, stay at the hospital or clinic for at least 15-20 minutes.
Beware of allergic shocks
Symptoms of allergic shock
Prevalent rash and swelling on skin
Swelling on lips, tongue and throat
Extreme sneezing, runny nose
Hard breathing, wheezing, palpitation
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomachache
Experts list actions to be immediately taken in allergic shocks as below:
Immediately lie the patient flat on their back; raise their legs.
Clean the mouth and nasal passages; make sure they're breathing easily.
If anaphylaxis is caused by a bee sting, get the bee-sting out without breaking it, wash the area with soapy water and regularly apply ice.
Do not make patient suddenly sit or get up if their blood pressure is low; this may cause sudden death.
The main cure of anaphylaxis is adrenalin. If the patients are carrying ready adrenaline injections prepared by their physicians, immediately apply it to front/side of the thigh. Then, call and ambulance or take the patient to the closest health institution.