What are allergies?
An allergy is an oversensitivity for particular things. Common allergies are:
- Hayfever (pollen allergy)
- Cat hair
- Dust mites
With allergies the immune system, with which the body usually fights of bacteria and viruses, also reacts to harmless things such as pollen or cat hairs.
What are symptoms of allergies?
- Swollen glands
- Shortness of breath
Are allergies serious and should I see a doctor?
A lot of allergies aren't serious and quite bothersome at the most. There are allergies though that can be quite serious, examples of these are allergy to bee-stings and nut-allergy. With these serious allergies the body can react quite severely, warranting immediate action.
Contact a doctor:
- To assess your complaints
- For prescription of medication, if necessary
Immediately contact a doctor:
- When you have a severe allergic reaction
- When you become severely short of breath or start to feel faint and dizzy, after possibly having been in contact with an allergen
What can I do about allergies myself?
- Avoid the things you are allergic to
- When you have a serious allergy, always carry an epi-pen
- With less serious allergies, always have some medication on you in case you come in contact with an allergen
How do allergies affect my body?
The body has an immune system which protects it from intruders like bacteria, viruses, funguses and parasites. When this immune system works properly it only attacks potentially dangerous intruders, but there are certain things the immune system can react to which actually aren't harmful at all. In a lot of cases this only causes irritation, itching, sneezing and coughing, but with more serious allergies this can cause serious coughing and trouble breathing or a sudden drop in blood pressure. For most types of allergies there's medication available, contact your doctor to see what your options are.