Allergies and Sensitivities

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Allergies are your body’s reaction to a substance it views as a harmful ‘invader.’ For example, coming into contact with what is normally a harmless substance, such as pollen, might cause your immune system (your body’s defense system) to react. Substances that cause these reactions are called allergens.

There are many types of allergies. Some allergies are seasonal and others are year-round. Some allergies may be life-long. An ‘allergic reaction’ is the way your body responds to the allergen.

If you are prone to allergies, the first time you’re exposed to a specific allergen (such as pollen), your body responds by producing allergic (IgE) antibodies. The job of these antibodies is to find the allergens and help remove them from your system. As a result, a chemical called histamine is released and causes symptoms of allergies. (Cleveland Clinic)

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Common Strategies for Managing Allergies and Sensitivities

 An allergy management plan is key to preventing allergic reactions. It is also necessary to control your allergies. Work with your doctor or other credentialed healthcare Practitioner to create your allergy management plan. 

Managing your allergies and preventing allergic reactions depends on your type of allergy. Here are some ways to manage your allergies:

  • Avoid your particular allergens. This is very important but not always easy. Some allergens are easier to avoid than others. When you can’t avoid an allergen, try to reduce your contact with it. Learn more about how to manage your specific allergies.
  • Take medicines or remedies as prescribed. They can be helpful for managing your symptoms. Take them while also avoiding allergens. 
  • If you are at risk for anaphylaxis, keep your epinephrine auto-injectors with you at all times. Epinephrine is the only treatment for a severe allergic reaction. It is only available through a prescription from your doctor. Each prescription comes with two auto-injectors in a set. 
  • Keep a diary. Track what you do, what you eat, when symptoms occur, and what seems to help. This may help you and your medical Practitioner find what causes or worsens your symptoms. 
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet (or necklace). If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction, please wear a medical alert bracelet. This bracelet lets others know that you have a serious allergy. It can be critical if you have a reaction and you are unable to communicate. 
  • Know what to do during an allergic reaction. Have a written anaphylaxis emergency action plan. It tells you and others what to do in case you have allergic symptoms or a severe allergic reaction. Always ask your medical Practitioner if you have any questions.

    It is crucial to recognize that you are having an allergic reaction and to respond quickly and properly. If the reaction is progressing and getting severe, call 911/999/112/919 (whichever is the emergency code of your country) immediately. Do not try to take yourself or a family member or friend to the hospital. You might have to stop and render aid on the way. It is always best to stay where you are and have an ambulance transport you.

(Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA))

Explore the Research

We believe you should have access to high-quality research to help you make informed health decisions. Below are four trusted databases you can use as tools to expand your healthcare knowledge.