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
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.
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
Red, watery and itchy eyes
Wheeze or persistent cough Breathing problems
Swelling of the tongue and tightness of the throat
Vomiting and diarrhoea.
Staying well informed is the best plan of action