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Allergies



Allergies are wide-ranging and affect individuals differently – from mild to severe. Substances that trigger an allergic reaction are called allergens. Common allergens include pollen, house dust mites, mould, insects, and pets. Less common allergens include nuts, fruit, medication, and latex.

Allergies develop when your body’s immune system reacts to an allergen as though it is a threat, like an infection, and produces antibodies to fight off the allergen. Each time you come into contact with the allergen, your body remembers the previous exposure and produces more of the antibodies, causing the release of chemicals in the body that lead to an allergic reaction.

 

Signs and Symptoms

The nature of your symptoms depends on how you came into contact with the allergen. Common allergens and their symptoms are:

  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) - congestion, tickly or running nose, itchy / watery / swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Eczema - itchy, red, flaking or peeling skin
  • Insect sting allergy - swelling where the sting occurred, itching or hives all over your body, tight chest, shortness of breath, cough, anaphylaxis (this is an extreme reaction and can be life-threatening)
  • Medication allergy - rash, itchy skin, facial swelling, wheezing, hives, anaphylaxis
  • Food allergy - tingling feeling in your mouth, swelling of your tongue / lips / throat / face, hives, anaphylaxis

 

Getting a Diagnosis

If you think you have an allergy, talk to one of our practitioners about the symptoms you are having, when they happen, how often they occur, and if anything seems to trigger them. You may be offered a skin prick test to identify the allergen that is causing your symptoms.

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Further tests available:

 

Prevention

It is critical to manage your allergies by identifying the triggers and avoiding them. A skin prick test to identify your allergens helps. Some medications assist in reducing symptoms such as antihistamine pills, decongestants or corticosteroids. Booking a consultation with our Integrative Health Practitioner Mary-Lou can help you determine how to manage and prevent allergy symptoms through nutraceuticals, and dietary and lifestyle modifications.

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