Tips for Living with Dangerous Allergies
It’s your immune system’s job to protect you from outside invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. Sometimes, however, your immune system will produce antibodies in response to something that is not harmful at all, such as medications or certain foods. It’s response to these generally harmless irritants or allergens is called an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction like anaphylaxis can be life threatening and effect the entire body. It produces dangerous symptoms like narrowed airways and difficulty breathing, a sudden drop in blood pressure, swelling of the face or tongue, chest pain and heart palpitations, or loss of consciousness. The risk of this is increased if you have a history of anaphylaxis, a history of allergies and/or asthma, or a family history of severe allergic reaction.
Here are tips for avoiding an allergic reaction and living with dangerous allergies:
Avoiding Allergic Reactions: The only way to avoid having a reaction is to stay away from triggers. The steps you take to protect yourself will depend on the type of allergen.
Avoiding Insect Bites and Stings: When you are allergic to venom, outdoor activities can become more stressful than needed. Avoid stings by not wearing fragrant perfumes, deodorants, and lotions, wearing shoes when walking outdoors, drinking from a straw instead out of the soda can, and covering food when eating outside.
Avoiding Drug Allergies: Certain types of drugs can cause allergic reactions. You should always inform your doctor or pharmacist of any drug allergy you have so they can prescribe an alternative. If the drug is unavoidable, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid or antihistamines before administering the drug.
Common Food Allergies: Many food allergens can be hidden as ingredients in foods, such as eggs, milk, soy and wheat. There are some are more obvious food allergens, such as fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts.
Avoiding Food Allergies: Cooking your own food is the best way to avoid allergens. However, if out at a restaurant, don’t be afraid to ask questions or for substitutions. Most packaged foods now list any allergens on the label. If you are going over to a friend’s house, let them know of allergens ahead of time.
Other Ways to Stay Safe: There is only so much you can do to prevent an allergic reaction. Other ways to stay safe include letting family and friends know what to do in case of an emergency, wearing a medical ID bracelet, carrying an epinephrine auto-injector or bee sting kit at all times, and never participating in outdoor activities alone.