From gluten to bee stings, there are countless entities that our bodies may identify as a potential threat. Nowadays allergies are considered commonplace, with an estimated 21 million Britons suffering from at least one. While most allergic reactions are mild to moderate, on rare occasions an individual can suffer symptoms that are more severe and even life-threatening. Identifying your allergy early on is the first step in managing it.
Consult your doctor if you believe you have an allergy. They should be able to confirm your triggers through a skin, blood or patch test. Once your trigger is identified, management of your condition will consist in two core components: treatment and prevention.
While it is hard to preempt contact with allergens, being extra vigilant to possible triggers around you will work in your favour. If your allergy is food-related, carefully check food labels and make a conscious effort to enquire about what ingredients have been added to dishes in restaurants. If your symptoms are severe, you may even decide to bring your own snacks to avoid unnecessary mix-ups. If you suffer from hayfever, you may want to apply a pollen filter to your windows or a nasal filter before you venture out. If dust mites are your enemy, avoid them with an allergen-proof duvet.
If you wish to avoid flare-ups, you should always be prepared with the right relief medication. If you simply need oral pills or steroidal spray for relief, ensure to carry these in your bag with you. Stock up on these products in times when your allergy may be especially impairing. The same can be said for lotions or creams—keep these on hand whenever you may need them. If you are prone to severe reactions—for example, if you are at risk of anaphylactic shock—your doctor should provide you with an adrenaline auto-injector. It is important to keep this on you at all times, whether there is a risk of exposure or not.
Your allergies shouldn’t affect your daily life as long as you take the time to prepare and mitigate their symptoms. If you are unsure how to manage your specific allergy, consult your doctor for more advice.
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction
- Red, dry or itchy eyes
- Coughing and sneezing
- Blocked or runny nose
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- A rash or hives on the skin
- Worsening of asthma or eczema