Allergic Reactions Resulting from Insect Bites

Insect stings are bad enough, as it is. But for about 2 million people in USA, an insect bite is a worse torture than it is for others. The reason is that these people have allergic reactions to insect bites. Besides the discomfort, the sting of a bee or a wasp, or the bite of a spider can give rise to a series of allergy symptoms in them, necessitating allergy treatment.

Some of the common allergic reactions to insect bites are a swollen throat, tongue, or lip. Swelling of the throat could cause breathing difficulty or chocking. Blood pressure can also drop drastically, affecting the entire circulatory system. Dizziness is another allergy symptom, and in rare cases an anaphylactic reaction can even lead to death. Itching, swelling, and wheezing are the more common milder allergy symptoms.

How to ward off allergic reactions

The best scenario is to avoid getting into situations where one can be exposed to potential allergens. This is easier said than done because insects have their own methods of finding their way into the human world. And you cannot remain circumscribed within your home, without even stepping into the garden for fear of bees that visit the flowers.

Hanging traps to attract insects, or keeping the shed and basement clean, are some of the ways in which insects can be kept off. Since it is impossible to avoid insects entirely, it is important to be knowledgeable about allergy symptoms and allergy treatments.

Only an expert in the field or a doctor will be able to correctly diagnose an allergic reaction. However, in the case of a sting that has no allergic reaction, the pain and swelling would subside in a few hours. When the problem persists after that, allergy can be suspected. Sometimes, swelling or choking would be instant and so severe that medical attention should be sought immediately.

After the sting, the stinger of the bee, together with the venom sac, is left on the skin. So, the venom seeps out even after the bee has flown away. Instead of plucking the stinger, gently scrape it away to ensure that the barb and the venom sac are removed. The stinger of a wasp can be removed with a sterilized blunt knife. It should be scraped in a direction against the angle in which the stinger has entered. Applying ice, or a cold cloth, can reduce the allergy symptoms like pain and swelling.

In the case of a bee or wasp sting, if the allergy symptoms persist even after this first aid, a doctor should be consulted. In the case of a spider bite, besides the allergic reactions like swelling and redness, try to find if there is any breakdown of tissue (necrosis) around the bite area to confirm allergic reaction. If the affected area widens, you should consult a doctor immediately.

The more common medicines used to treat allergy symptoms are Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and similar antihistamines, or hydrocortisone creams. Using auto-injectors like EpiPen can temporarily stop allergic reactions, and give the patient time to get medical help, and prevent anaphylactic shock. However, for carrying auto-injectors and self-administering epinephrine, those who are prone to allergic reactions should get a doctor’s permission in advance.

Combating Allergy Reactions Due To Pollen and Mold

Plants produce pollens, which are its male reproductive units, in abundance, much more than are necessary for the fertilization process. So the extra ones remain in the atmosphere and get into the nostrils of people and cause allergic reactions. Likewise, mold is produced round the year. They too can come in touch with sensitive body parts and give rise to allergy symptoms.

Allergic reactions in people occur because the proteins in pollen and mold are perceived by the immune system as foreign particles entering the body. It releases antibodies which results in the body producing histamines. These are the allergy symptoms. Asthma, wheezing, and allergic rhinitis are typical examples of such allergy symptoms. Another example is conjunctivitis which is an inflammation of eyelid membranes and nose.

Shutting out pollen grains and molds to prevent allergy is not possible. Mold can grow in any corner of a home and pollen can move across vast stretches of land through air. To escape allergy, all that people can do is minimize contact with these agents of allergy.

Keeping off pollen

Pollen density in the air is comparatively low in the morning from 5 AM to 10 AM. It would be better if those who are prone to pollen allergy can manage to remain indoors during that time. Also, they are safer outside on days when it is humid or rainy since pollen grains do not fly up in such weather.

Other preventive mechanisms are keeping the doors and windows closed to avoid allergy. If the house is fully air-conditioned and the system has got good filters it would be better. You can avoid drying clothes outside since pollen can easily collect on it and induce allergic reaction in the wearer when he uses the clothes.

Keeping off mold

While humidity can lessen pollen infusion in the environment, it can promote the growth o f mold. To prevent allergic reactions due to exposure to mold, every nook and corner of the house has to be kept clean. Kitchen area is particularly vulnerable to the growth of mold and so it needs extra care. A humidifier or air conditioner can lessen the moisture inside and so can prevent the growth of mold and thus can reduce chances of allergy due to mold. Using sprays in areas more prone to mold growth, and keeping your hands clean and dry, can also reduce the risk of allergy.

Allergy medicines

Since prevention is not always possible, there should be preparation on your part to combat allergy symptoms, if and when there is an attack of allergy. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is a very common antihistamine used in allergy treatment. Antihistamines work well as allergy medicines because they can counteract the fallout from body’s increased histamine production during allergic reactions. Though too frequent use of antihistamines is not good, it can reduce allergy symptoms like nasal inflammation and mucous secretion.

Do You Have An Allergy? Get Checked To See If You Are Food Allergic

Food allergies are quite common today. Some statistics indicate food allergy in adults and children in America are 2% and 6% respectively. When the immune system of our body reacts more than expected to the non parasitic antigens, food allergy is caused. Foods like milk, eggs, shellfish and peanuts are the non parasitic antigens, in the case of food allergy. The non parasitic antigens are also known as allergen.

Antibodies are the proteins in our blood and help our immune system to detect the foreign particles. They are called as IgE (immunoglobulin E). As a result of this histamine, prostaglandins etc. are released. Antibodies helps in increasing their release and give allergic reactions to the person.

Blocking of nose and watering of eyes are few allergy symptoms. The symptoms of the food allergy are wider than the allergic reactions caused by any other allergy. They are frequently followed by redness of skin, pain in abdomen and vomiting. In some cases swelling appears on the throat, lips and tongue.

Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction on the body. In harsh cases a person suffers from anaphylactic shock. In such situations the person suffers from low blood pressure, giddiness, uneasiness to breathe etc. The person may even lose his life if not treated on time. In America alone 200 people die per year due to anaphylaxis.

Reactions from food allergy may also appear on the particular part of the body. For example, a person may get itching in the mouth after eating any food item they are allergic to.

An expert opinion should be taken to find out whether the reactions occur due to intolerance of food. An allergy test called prick test of skin helps to find out if the person is allergic to particular food. Doctors inject small quantity of the extracts of the suspected matter under the person’s skin. The skin is observed for sometime to find if itching of skin or swelling appears.

Sometimes blood test becomes necessary to find the quantity of IgE after consumption of suspected food. Blood tests are less accurate.

Similar symptoms like deficiency of digestive enzymes are induced genetically. They are needed to digest the cow’s milk. This is not a case of allergy but intolerance of lactose.

Food allergy can be taken care of by avoiding foods to which a person is allergic. A person allergic to peanuts, egg and products made from them should avoid eating them.
Foods that give allergy symptoms should be avoided. However antihistamines may give relief to the patients in case of accidents. In an emergency an EpiPen device helps in injecting a little amount of ephinephrine to avoid anaphylactic shocks.