Allergies Are On the Rise in the U.S.A.
Do you suffer from allergies? Perhaps you sneeze incessantly whenever you so much as look at a cat or maybe you swell up like a balloon at even the tiniest whiff of the seafood special at your favorite restaurant. Whatever your allergy case may be, you are definitely not alone in suffering. It’s estimated that more than 50 million Americans currently suffer from allergies, and a recent report indicates that more Americans than ever before are at a greater risk of developing allergies. Let’s take a closer look at allergies and your potential risk.
Do you suffer from allergies? Perhaps you sneeze incessantly whenever you so much as look at a cat or maybe you swell up like a balloon at even the tiniest whiff of the seafood special at your favorite restaurant.
Whatever your allergy case may be, you are definitely not alone in suffering. A recent article, released by FOXNews.com, states that more than 50 million Americans currently suffer from allergies. These latest statistics are based on a study conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
What’s even more disturbing? More Americans than ever before are at a greater risk of developing allergies, according to data reported by Maria Esposito at FOXNews.com.
So how do you know if you’re at risk for developing an allergy? And what are some effective ways to treat your symptoms if you do suffer from allergies? Keep reading for answers to those questions and more.
All About Allergies
According to Dr. Stanley Fineman, Allergy & Asthma Specialist “The first step in determining if you have an allergy is understanding what an allergy is. An allergy is a situation where you have a sensitivity to something that causes a reaction that normal people don’t have a reaction to. If you notice that you have the same reaction to a substance and no one else is reacting to it, then you should be tested for allergy.”
If you think you might have an allergy to something, it is recommended that your physician start with a very detailed account of your medical history along with a complete physical. These steps will help the doctor get a proper diagnosis of sensitivity to inhalants like animal dander, pollen, dust, and mold spores, as well as foods or certain insects.
The doctor can identify the specific allergy by conducting an allergy skin test. This is a simple test, where a drop of extract containing an allergen is put on the skin. If you are allergic, there will be a reaction at the site within ten to twenty minutes. The reaction will look a great deal like a mosquito bite. Dr. Fineman states “The allergy skin test is very sensitive and very specific. There are very few false positives if done properly.”
An allergy blood test (also known as a RAST test) may be conducted instead of the skin test. The test is done in a lab, so it takes a bit longer to receive the results. There are instances when the blood test is preferable, such as if the patient takes medication which could interfere with skin testing and this medication cannot be interrupted.
Some patients experience severe allergy symptoms that can have an impact on their lifestyle. According to Dr. Fineman “They could be treated with desensitizing therapy also known as immunotherapy. This requires a patient to undergo a series of injections during which time the patient is exposed to small doses of the allergen at first. As the dosage is increased, the patient builds up a tolerance for the allergen so that eventually they will no longer be sensitive to it.” This treatment is used to combat inhalant and insect-type allergies. The FDA has not yet approved it for the treatment of food allergies.
There are many over-the-counter remedies available and some can be very helpful, according to Dr. Fineman. The effectiveness of any medication depends upon how you react to it personally. “There are some medications that are relatively sedating, and some that are non-sedating. Some people fall asleep when they take Benadryl or Claritin, while others don’t.”
It is not uncommon for people to try several over-the-counter medications to determine which one works best for them.
If you are looking for an alternative and more natural treatment for allergies, consider licorice root, Capsicum, Stinging Nettle, Quercetin and Coenzyme Q-10.
Licorice root has been used for centuries to cure allergies. It encourages the adrenal glands to produce hormones that fight allergens and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Licorice root is most commonly served in hot tea.
Capsicum is an herb that is rich in Vitamin C and Quercetin, a natural antihistamine. Capsicum has been proven to aid in the reduction of allergy effects and is often taken in capsule form.
Coenzyme Q-10 is a great overall supplement that has many health benefits. It works to boost immunity and works as an antihistamine. It is most commonly taken in a tablet form.
Quercetin is a popular bioflavonoid that is used to treat allergies. It helps to reduce inflammation and prevents cells from dumping their allergy symptom fluids into the blood stream. Quercetin is taken as a supplement, but is also commonly found in blue-green algae.
Stinging nettle is a time-honored herb that has been used to treat allergies in both children and adults. It is available as dried leaves, teas, root tinctures and capsules for addition into the daily diet. There are some side effects, so pregnant women in particular should not take stinging nettle.
As with starting any new medication, you should consult your physician before you do so.
Allergies affect millions of people around the world of all ages, and now it looks like even more are at risk. If you understand the symptoms, detection methods and treatment options, you’ll be steps ahead to be able to reduce the effects of this often troublesome health condition.