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Front Page » September 26, 2002 » Carbon Senior Scene » Itchy, watery eyes, allergies are in the air
Published 4,756 days ago

Itchy, watery eyes, allergies are in the air

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Staff writer

These cute and cuddly critters could easily become a source of pain and discomfort for someone who suffers from allergies. Don't be disappointed however, medication can reduce symptoms and allow pet lovers to continue to enjoy the furry friends.

Most Carbon County residents relate spring with allergy season. But to allergy sufferers, the entire year can be bothersome.

More than 60 million Americans suffer from allergies. That is more than 20 percent of the population in the United States.

Allergies are described as being the overreaction of the immune system. People who have allergies have a hyperalert immune system that overreacts to a substance in the environment which is called an allergen. Exposure to what is normally a harmless substance such as pollen, causes the immune system to react as if the substance is harmful.

As part of the reaction to this substance, the body will create a defense mechanism. What the allergy sufferer feels is most commonly the itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and headache. Although most allergies are not life threatening, they are troublesome to the person who lives with this problem.

There are several different types of allergies. The most common substances that trigger allergies include pollen and dust mites.

An example of a pollen allergy is hay fever. This allergy causes inflammation and swelling of the lining of the nose as well as the lining of the eyes and eyelids. Common symptoms include sneezing, congestion and itchy, watery eyes.

Because Carbon County is notorious for being a farming community, allergy sufferers tend to have symptoms throughout the year, especially through the spring and fall seasons.

Treatments for the common allergy include over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines and nasal steroids.

A few ways to prevent the pollen allergy from occuring include staying indoors on days that the pollen count is high. Also, make sure to avoid outdoor activities on warm or windy days if at all possible. This is when the pollen count is most likely to be high.

Before reaching for the allergy medications and the box of tissues, those who suffer from allergies should contact a physician for specific information regarding the treatment of certain allergic reactions.

Dust mites cause allergic reactions indoors. These are microscopic organisms that live in dust. Symptoms are similar to those for pollen allergies and can also produce symptoms of asthma such as wheezing and coughing. Treatments include medications such as antihistamines or decongestants. Also, air purifiers may reduce dust mites from collecting in the home.

Those cute and cuddly little animals such as cats and dogs also cause allergies. Animal dander is a protein that is secreted by oil glands in an animals skin. The protein may also be present in the animals saliva and can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Allergies to animals can take two or more years to develop and symptoms may not subside until months after ending contact with the animal. Common treatments for this allergy include avoiding exposure to the animals which cause the allergy if at all possible. But, if the animal has become a part of the family, medications for the allergy sufferer such as antihistamines or decongestants may also be helpful. A physician should be contacted for specific treatment methods.

Although many allergies are not life threatening, some could easily become a matter of life or death. Some food allergies can cause the victim severe pain and suffering and may become life threatening.

Common food allergies include milk, fish, shellfish, nuts, peanuts, wheat and eggs. These foods may cause symptoms such as wheezing, hives, runny nose, vomiting, and swelling in the area around the mouth. If a food allergy is suspected, a physician should be contacted.

Insect stings can also be quite serious when a person with allergies to the sting comes in contact with the insect. Although everyone who is stung by an insect will feel some pain and will have swelling and redness near the sting site, some people are severely allergic to the sting and can face a life threatening situation.

Severe symptoms to an insect sting include difficulty breathing, hives that appear as a red, itchy rash that spreads to areas other than the immediate area stung, swelling of the face, throat, or mouth, wheezing or difficulty swallowing, rapid pulse, dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure.

An oral antihistamine may be taken along with aspirin. A severe reaction however is usually treated with an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) which will stop the development of a severe alllergic reaction.

Although many Americans suffer from allergies, there is no cure. Some medicines do however reduce the affects of allergies. There are countless numbers of over-the-counter medicines which reduce the symptoms of allergies, but users must use caution. Some of these medicines can cause severe side effects including drowsiness and high blood pressure.

A physician can assist an allergy patient in selecting the proper medication and in some cases including serious allergic reactions, the physician may prescribe a specific medication to reduce symptoms.

As the leaves begin to fall and farmers cut the final crop of hay for the year, allergy sufferers are finding that the fall season is just as bothersome as the spring. But there is hope, medications can relieve the discomfort of those pesky allergies.

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September 26, 2002
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