How To Manage Common Allergies
Spring is on the horizon.
This means that it is the beginning of the hay fever season. However, this is just one of the many allergies that people can suffer. About 1 in 4 of the population in the UK will be affected by an allergy in their lives. They are particularly common in children.
An allergy is a reaction your body has to a particular food or substance. Most allergies, are mild and can be controlled but occasionally severe reactions that can be life-threatening can occur. This is called anaphylaxis and requires immediate treatment with an adrenaline auto-injector.
Symptoms Of Common allergies
Allergic reactions usually happen within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen. They can cause:
- A runny or blocked nose
- Red, itchy, watery eyes
- Wheezing and coughing
- A red itchy rash
- Worsening of asthma
A severe allergic reaction can cause swelling of the lips, tongue, eyes, and face. If you think you or your child may have an allergy, keep a diary to see if there is a link to something you eat, touch, or inhale that triggers your reaction. Then you should see your GP. If the reaction is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you are allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist.
How To Manage Common allergies
The most effective way to manage an allergy is to avoid the allergen. Below is some practical advice to help you avoid the most common allergens:
House dust mites – this is one of the biggest causes of allergies.
You can limit the number of mites in your home by:
- Choosing wood or vinyl floor coverings
- Fitting roller blinds which can be easily wiped
- Choosing leather plastic or vinyl furniture
- Cleaning cushions, soft toys by washing at a high temperature or vacuuming
- Using allergy-tested covers on mattresses, duvets, and pillows.
- Using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
- Regularly wiping surfaces with a damp clean cloth
Pets – here it’s the flakes of their dead skin (dander), saliva, and dried urine that cause the allergic reaction. If you cannot permanently remove the pet from your home, you could try:
- Keeping pets outside as much as possible
- Not allowing pets in bedrooms
- Washing pets at least once a week
- Regularly grooming pets outside
- Regularly washing their bedding
- Using an air filter in rooms where you spend most of your
- Increasing ventilation with fans or air conditioning
- Keeping your home dry and well ventilated
- Removing indoor plants
- Not drying clothes indoors
- Dealing with any dampness or condensation in your home
- Avoiding damp buildings, damp woods, and rotten leaves
Food allergies – by law, food manufacturers must clearly label any foods that contain something that is known to cause allergic reactions in some people. If you are eating out:
- Don’t rely on the menu description.
- Communicate clearly with the waiting staff and ask for their advice.
- Avoid buffets and
- Stick with simple dishes as they are less likely to have “hidden”
Pollen allergies, more commonly known as hay fever, can be helped if you:
- Stay inside if the pollen count is
- Avoid drying clothes outside when the pollen count is
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your
- Keep doors and windows shut where
- Shower and change your clothes after being outside.
- Avoid grassy areas especially in the early morning, evening, or night when the pollen count is highest. If you have a lawn try asking someone else to cut it for you.
Insect bites and stings – if you have ever suffered a bad reaction to an insect bite or sting, it’s important to minimize your risk when you are outside by:
- Covering exposed skin
- Wear shoes
- Apply insect
- Avoid wearing strong perfumes as these can attract
What allergy medications and treatments are available?
- allergen immunotherapy
- nasal sprays and washes
Medications used to treat and control allergy symptoms include:
Many of these are available from our pharmacy so if you want advice on which would be best for your symptoms speak to a member of our team.