RE­AC­TION CHAIN

FOR ALLERGY SUF­FER­ERS, BE­ING AWARE OF TRIG­GERS AND MAN­AG­ING SYMP­TOMS IS PART AND PAR­CEL OF LIFE. HERE, WE TAKE A LOOK AT AL­LER­GIES, FROM WHAT CAUSES THEM, WHAT TO BE AWARE OF AND HOW TO TREAT THEM

Good Health Choices - - Be Informed -

Around one in three New Zealan­ders will be af­fected by al­ler­gies at some point in their lives, so chances are that you or some­one you know suf­fers from some kind of allergy. In this health book, we’ve cov­ered ev­ery­thing you need to know to pre­vent al­ler­gies, man­age ex­ist­ing ones and help you iden­tify what could be caus­ing those un­com­fort­able symp­toms. With so many dif­fer­ent causes and symp­toms – even po­ten­tially life-threat­en­ing ones – stay­ing well in­formed is the best plan of ac­tion.

ALLERGY WATCH

Any­one can develop an allergy but some peo­ple may be more prone than oth­ers. Here are a few of the fac­tors that can in­crease your risk: Ge­net­ics: If a fam­ily mem­ber suf­fers from an allergy, you have an in­creased risk, al­though you won’t nec­es­sar­ily develop the same al­ler­gies or symp­toms as your fam­ily mem­ber – in fact you may not develop an allergy at all.

First solids: In­tro­duc­tion of cow’s milk, soy for­mula or in­tro­duc­tion of solid foods be­fore three to four months of age in­creases your risk of de­vel­op­ing eczema and food al­ler­gies. Birth in spring: If you were a spring baby, you have an in­creased risk of sea­sonal al­ler­gies. Ex­po­sure to ci­garette smoke: You’re more likely to develop al­ler­gyre­lated res­pi­ra­tory symp­toms if you’re reg­u­larly ex­posed to ci­garette smoke.

De­layed ex­po­sure to peanuts: Sci­ence has found that in­tro­duc­ing peanuts early for ba­bies re­duces risk of de­vel­op­ing a peanut allergy.

What causes the re­ac­tion?

When your im­mune sys­tem re­acts to a sub­stance as though it’s harm­ful, an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion takes place. The same sub­stance could be com­pletely harm­less to oth­ers, but in a sen­si­tive per­son it leads to in­flam­ma­tion and other allergy symp­toms like

itch­ing or hives.

GET TO KNOW THE SYMP­TOMS

Within a few min­utes of be­ing ex­posed to an al­ler­gen, you can ex­pect to develop a re­ac­tion. Your symp­toms will de­pend on what is caus­ing the allergy but they can in­clude:

Swelling of the lips, face, eyes Sneez­ing

Runny nose

Red, wa­tery and itchy eyes

Wheeze or per­sis­tent cough Breath­ing prob­lems

Swelling of the tongue and tight­ness of the throat

Headache

Skin rash

Stom­ach pains

Vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhoea.

Stay­ing well in­formed is the best plan of ac­tion

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