Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and you should always consult one before listening to whatever I say. I speak from personal experience and research, not medical experience. 

I have both seasonal and food allergies, and you probably do too. I know that because 50 million Americans have some sort of seasonal allergy and 15 million Americans have food allergies.

So. During the spring, summer, and fall, you sneeze, cough, sniffle, itch, etc. What do you do about it? Here’s a list of things to try next time you find yourself at the whim of seasonal allergies:

  1. Check local reports.  Adjust outdoor activity based on local pollen reports. (try Pollen.com for a full map)
  2. Close the windows. Keep home and car windows closed during allergy season.
  3. Know your allergies and get tested. Any local allergy / asthma center will have testing options.
  4. Know when to go out. During the spring and summers, allergies are more severe in the evening. During the fall, allergies are  most severe in the morning.
  5. Wash often. If you are outside, take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes.
  6. Take medication. Zyrtec, Allegra, Flonase, etc. Check with your doctor and do some research to find out what’s best for you.

 

What about food allergies? Here’s a few things to do if you have food allergies:

  1. Avoid your allergen. This is the first step. Always try to avoid what you are allergic to to prevent symptoms from even starting.
  2.  Use medication. Anti-histamine pills (try Benadryl?) and Epi-Pens for more serious reactions both work to ease food allergy symptoms.
  3. Hope. Sometimes children suffer from allergies that they outgrow by the time they reach adulthood. So maybe you will outgrow your allergies?

 

So now you know what to do when you get allergies, but what causes these pesky symptoms? Prepare yourselves: science ahead…

When an allergen (something that causes an allergic reaction) enters the body, the immune system’s B cells make antibodies specific to that exact allergen. Theses precise antibodies attach to a mast cell which is home to huge amounts of histamine. When the allergen attaches to the antibodies of the mast cell, the antibody registers it as a threat and releases histamine.

When this histamine is released, a signal is sent around the area to say that there is a foreign and harmful thing present in the body. This ‘freak out’ by the body creates the symptoms that one feels when allergies hit hard.

The annoying thing about allergies though, is that said allergen is not really harmful. Most of the time, the immune system targets the things that have the potential to hurt the body, but sometimes the immune system is quite a drama queen and creates something out of nothing.

So for those who don’t have allergies, the immune system knows that these particles are not actually a problem. And if you are one of those lucky individuals with no allergies, then congratulations on your body working correctly. For the rest of us, allergies are all-around terrible and you should pity us (but hopefully these tips help!).

 

Thanks for reading, friends!

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