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What is allergy?

Allergy occurs when the immune system reacts more actively than usually to a foreign substance, which would not cause otherwise such a severe reaction - such as pollen, bee venom, pet dander or saliva, food. Allergies can damage skin, respiratory tract or digestive system. The severity of allergies in different people is different and can range from mild skin irritation to anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening condition. Although most allergies cannot be treated, it is possible to reduce the symptoms by various measures.

Allergic symptoms for inhaled allergens are usually the following:

  • sneezing
  • itching of the nose, eyes or mouth
  • runny nose, nasal congestion
  • watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)

Usually the causes are pollen, animal dandruff, saliva, dust mites, mold, perfumes.

Food allergy can cause:

  • burning or tingling sensation in the mouth
  • swelling of the lips, tongue, neck or face
  • diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • rash
  • anaphylaxis (or anaphylactic shock - a severe allergic reaction with difficulty in breathing, impaired consciousness and cardiovascular disfunction)

The most common food allergens are peanuts, crustaceans and other seafood, citrus, celery, egg.

Allergy caused by insect bites or stings can cause the following symptoms:

  • swelling, redness, pain in the bitten / needled area
  • itching and redness of whole body skin
  • cough, breathing difficulty
  • anaphylaxis

Drug allergy can cause:

  • rash
  • itching and swelling of the skin
  • excessive sweating
  • anaphylaxis

All medicines can cause allergic reaction!

There is also a contact allergy called contact dermatitis, which occurs after contact with a certain substance or material - for example, nickel, latex.

How to diagnose allergies:

Usually, allergy diagnosis is based on symptoms. In the case of recurrent or more severe allergies, or if a specific allergy treatment type or prophylactic measure is planned, the family doctor, pulmonologist or allergologist may advise you to undergo an allergy test to determine exact allergens (skin tests or blood tests).

How to prevent and treat allergies:

  • The most reliable way to prevent allergies is to avoid contact with an allergen - to give up some food, not to use allergy-causing household chemicals, cosmetics, to avoid being in nature during flowering, to limit contact with animals causing allergies, to avoid contact with insects.
  • Mild allergy can be treated with over-the-counter medicines - Xyzal, Aceterin, Loratin, Aerius, Kestine, Tavegyl pills, for eye symptoms eye drops Allergodil, for nasal congestion and runny nose - nasal spray Allergodil, Flixonase. The topical Hydrocortisone DAK cream can be used locally.
  • A more serious allergy must be treated by family doctor, pulmonologist or allergologist. If necessary, an Epipen injector, containing Adrenaline, is prescribed and can be used by patients themselves for a severe allergic reaction intramuscularly, as this is a convenient pre-filled syringe.
  • Immunotherapy is used for severe allergies: an ascending dosage of allergen is administered orally or injected regularly over several years, as a result the body's hypersensitivity to this allergen will significantly decrease and after the end of the treatment allergy to certain allergens will be virtually eliminated, the result persists for up to 10 years. Immunotherapy is only prescribed by an allergologist.

Contact family nurse or doctor if you have:

  • Symptoms of an allergy that are getting stronger, more frequent, or lasting longer than usual
  • Symptoms of allergy that occur at work and interfere with the job responsibilities and duties (if necessary you will get a referral to the occupational physician)
  • Questions about allergy prevention
  • Life-threatening conditions such as breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, swelling of the neck or face (in this case better call an ambulance or visit Accident & Emergency department)

Doctors who can help

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