According to kidshealth.org, up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, have some type of allergy. In fact, allergies cause about 2 million missed school days each year.
Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people. When a person is allergic to something, the immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harming the body.
Common Airborne Allergens
Some of the most common things people are allergic to are airborne (carried through the air):
Up to 2 million, or 8%, of kids in the United States are affected by food allergies.
Eight foods account for most of those: cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, and wheat.
Allergy symptoms, which depend on the substance involved, can affect your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and digestive system. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In some severe cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Some types of allergies, including allergies to foods and insect stings, can trigger a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. A life-threatening medical emergency, anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock.
Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
Your doctor can diagnose allergies in several ways.
First, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. They will ask about anything unusual you may have eaten recently and any substances you may have come in contact with. For example, if you have a rash on your hands, your doctor may ask if you put on latex gloves recently.
Lastly, a blood test and skin test can confirm or diagnose allergens your doctor suspects you have.
In general, there is no cure for allergies. The best way to avoid allergies is to stay away from whatever triggers the reaction. If that’s not possible, there are treatment options available.
Allergy treatment often includes medications like antihistamines to control symptoms. What your doctor recommends depends on the severity of your allergies.
Allergy medications include:
Singulair should only be prescribed if there are no other suitable treatment options. This is because it increases your risk of serious behavioral and mood changes, such as suicidal thoughts and actions.
For severe allergies or allergies not completely relieved by other treatment, your doctor might recommend allergen immunotherapy. This treatment involves a series of injections of purified allergen extracts, usually given over a period of a few years.
Another form of immunotherapy is a tablet that’s placed under the tongue (sublingual) until it dissolves. Sublingual medications are used to treat some pollen allergies.
If you have a severe allergy, you might need to carry an emergency epinephrine shot at all times.
Given for severe allergic reactions, an epinephrine shot (Auvi-Q, EpiPen, EpiPen Junior, Allerject, Emerade, others) can reduce symptoms until you get emergency treatment
Notice: The above information is an educational aid only. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.