Signs and Symptoms
1. Stomachache and/or frequent indigestion.
2. Outbreaks of irritated, itchy, red, or bumpy skin.
1. Outbreaks of irritated, itchy, red, or bumpy skin,sometimes accompanied by flulike symptoms such as low fever, headache, and joint pain.
1. Sneezing, wheezing, and coughing.
2. In some cases, difficulty in breathing.
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis, a respiratory allergy):
1. Frequent sneezing.
2. Runny or stuffy nose.
3. Itchy or watery eyes.
4. Itching in back of throat or on roof of mouth.
What to do now
1. Avoid tobacco smoke and insect sprays, and stay inside on days with high pollution levels.
2. If you’re allergic to pollen, stay indoors on days with high pollen counts.
3. If you’re allergic to insect sting or have severe reactions to specific foods, ask your doctor for an emergency kit with antihistamines and an adrenaline shot. Always carry the kit with you.
4. If you frequently have itchy or watery eyes, ask you doctor about a prescription for antihistamine eye drops.
5. If you have hay fever, try various over-the-counter antihistamines and keep track of which ones work best. Don’t combine antihistamines with prescription medications or other over-the-counter drugs without checking with your doctor or pharmacist.
Note: Phenylpropanolamine-found in some decongestants – has in rare cases been linked to stroke. Use decongestants containing pseudo ephedrine instead).
When to call a doctor
Go to an emergency facility immediately:
1. If you have violent stomach cramps, vomiting, bloating, or diarrhea. This could signal a serious reaction to a food.
2. If you have recurring allergies. An allergy specialist can test you to find out what you’re allergic to.
3. If your breathing becomes extremely difficult or painful. You many be having an attack of asthma.
4. If you develop a rapid heartbeat and skin welts along with flushing, itching, dizziness, and trouble breathing. You could be having a dangerous and potentially fatal reaction called anaphylactic shock.
How to prevent it
1. Learn what you’re allergic to, and avoid it.
2. If you’re allergic to a commonly used drug such as penicillin, wear a medical alert tag or bracelet.
3. If you’re allergic to cats or dogs, stay away from them- or at least see that your pets are bathed frequently and keep them out of your bedroom.
4. If you’re allergic to molds, keep your house clean and dry, particularly these key spots: bathrooms, refrigerator drip trays, and closets.
5. If you sneeze and cough year-round, you may be among the millions of people who are allergic to dust mites (microscopic, spider like bugs that live in house dust). Try to keep you house- particularly your bedrooms-as dust-free as possible. Encase mattresses in plastic covers’ wash your bedding weekly in hot water; and avoid carpet, upholstered furniture, and other dust-catchers. Also, vacuum regularly (use a nonporous bag) or, better yet, have someone else do it.
6. If you have a severe food allergy, read package labels carefully. When dining out, be particularly careful to ask about ingredients.