Albright College


April Showers Bring May Flowers

As spring rains feed the flowers, trees, weeds and grasses, these things feed allergies.

What are allergies and why do we have them? Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system. People who have allergies have hyper-alert immune systems that overreact to substances in the environment called allergens.

Allergies affect at least 2 out of every 10 Americans.

Some of the most common types of allergies are, but not limited to:

  • Pollen
    • Can trigger Hay fever or seasonal allergies
  • Dust Mites
    • Microscopic organisms that live in house dust, a mixture of fabric fibers, animal dander, bacteria, mold or fungus spores, food particles, bits of plants and others. Unlike pollen being seasonal, this usually occurs year round.
  • Molds
    • Microscopic fungi spores that float in the air like pollen. These can be in damp areas of your home, such as basements and bathrooms. This also can occur seasonally, unless it's in your house.
  • Animal Dander and Cockroaches
    • Proteins secreted by oil glands in animal's skin and present in their saliva. It can take 2 or more years to develop allergies to animals and may subside months after ending contact with the animal.
  • Insect Stings
    • Everyone who gets stung by an insect will have pain, swelling and redness around the sting site. However people who are allergic to stings can have a severe or even a life threatening reaction.
  • Latex
    • Rubber gloves, condoms, and certain medical devices contain latex. Reactions can range from skin redness and itching to difficulty breathing.
  • Foods
    • Milk, fish, shellfish, nuts, wheat and eggs are among the most common of food allergies. These reactions usually happen within minutes after eating the food.
  • Medication
    • Some people develop reactions to things such as Penicillin or Aspirin. These symptoms can range anywhere from mild to life threatening.

Here are symptoms of allergic reactions:

Mild Reactions

  • Rash
  • Itchy watery eyes
  • Congestion

Mild reactions do not spread throughout the body

Moderate Allergic Reactions

These can include symptoms that spread to other parts of the body.

  • Itchiness
  • Difficulty breathing

Severe Allergic Reaction (Anaphylaxis)

This is a rare life-threatening emergency in which the body's response to the allergen is sudden and affects the whole body. It may begin with sudden itching of the eyes and within minute's progress to more serious symptoms:

  • Varying degrees of swelling that can make breathing and swallowing difficult
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mental confusion or dizziness

Have a budding April!

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