What with so much office stress and other political worries, it seems that the world has forgotten to give us a good health scare so far this year, but we don’t have to go too far back to think of the really frightening Ebola epidemic, the Zika virus, bird flu and swine flu to name just a few.
How irritating would it be laid low by things which are NOT illnesses? We all know someone these days with allergies of some sort or another. Allergies are the body reacting (or over-reacting) to often ordinary environmental factors as if it has encountered a dangerous virus or bacterium. Almost anyone can have an allergic reaction to something or other, ranging from a minor irritation to a life-threatening situation.
Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between an irritation (such as hairy caterpillar stings), an intolerance (often relating to a type of food) or a genuine allergic reaction, although only the latter can be life-threatening for some people. There are often a variety of factors which impact on the severity of the immune reaction, from genetics to previous exposures among many.
Allergies are becoming more common among children for reasons not fully understood, so we should make sure we know how to deal with them. Knowledge, awareness, preparation and a little common sense can help you be prepared – as well as preparation to treat the symptoms of an allergic reaction if necessary. Sometimes allergies can be a nuisance, but sometimes they can also endanger your life!
Pollens are tiny, almost invisibly small organic particles released from almost all types of vegetation including grasses, flowers, and trees. Symptoms of a pollen allergy (i.e. hay fever) include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes. Some people are allergic to pollen in general while others react to specific plants. The sensitized sinus system makes the reactions even worse, until you develop head-aches from sneezing and coughing. Sensitive sinuses can begin to suffer from pollution as well.
The first step to winning control over your hay fever is to get to know your particular triggers: What time of year does it hit me? What exactly causes my hay fever? What are the warning signs in nature I should be watching out for? Do I need to get medically tested to find out what exactly I am allergic to?
The reason for this is that the anti-histamine medicine which are the most common drugs used, don’t just work immediately like headache tablets. The active ingredients need to build up in your body over time; so if you only start taking them when you start feeling symptoms, it’s going to be quite a while before you feel the benefits, and of course one simply can’t take the medicine every single day of your life just to be sure. So get to know the early signals so that you can be prepared.
Weather forecasts (and weather apps) often include a pollen count forecast as well, so try and stay indoors on hot, windy days when pollen counts are high, closing windows and using air conditioning if you have it. If your car has air-conditioning, use that as well on high-count days.