The Physiology of Allergies

The Physiology of Allergies

Allergies to pets are quite common

Allergies are a condition that can complicate something as simple as living at home. The problem lies in that it can be difficult to avoid things that can cause simple allergy symptoms to life-threatening emergencies. Since it’s not possible for everyone who has allergies to live right next to a hospital, the best option is to optimize the home environment.

It may not be possible to eliminate every possible allergen that causes mild allergies, but the identification of specific triggers of severe allergies that can exist in the home is imperative. Yet, even simple allergens can be prevented with a home that is in a generally clean and hygienic state.

In what follows, we’ll be sharing several helpful and effective tips concerning the management of allergies in an at-home environment. These tips can assist in full-proofing the home to ensure emergencies are avoided and optimal health and wellness are promoted.

Tips for Managing Allergies At Home

Living with an allergy or allergies, however mild, can prove to be a difficulty. Should the allergy or allergies be severe, the result could be more than a mere hindrance and can lead to significant issues. Thus, maintaining a healthy home living environment will be the way to prevent these problems.

While many of the environments outside the home that are traveled through on a day-to-day basis can’t be controlled, the home environment can be, so it should. The following are some methods of control:

dust and mold allergiesMaintain a Clean Environment

One of the most common types of allergies are those caused by dust, mold, and other bacterial pollutants frequently found in an unclean home. For those that have such allergies, eliminating these allergens is of the utmost importance.

By prioritizing a daily tidy and a weekly clean of the floors, furniture, windows, and other areas known to gather dust, allergic reactions can be avoided, and optimal health can be obtained.

Ensure Sufficient Air Filtration

Depending on the season in question, some home methods can be used. For example, during springtime, keeping windows closed will help decrease the amount of pollen invading the home. And for this reason, cooling elements such as fans or central air conditioning would be a better option than opening windows.

In other scenarios, air filtration can be an appropriate option. To ensure sufficient air filtration, however, consider using a HEPA device that comes equipped with a filter that blocks pollen from entering the air vents. Like any filter, HEPA filters require frequent cleaning to remove any dust that builds up on both the inside and outside of the mechanism.

Air filters located in the HVAC of the house should also be replaced on a regular basis. It’s helpful to set up this type of seasonal replacement with your HVAC company or purchase these devices and replace them yourself.

Optimal humidity levels are said to be under 50% (typically 30-40%) in the home. This, of course, depends on the temperature outside of the home.

Vapor from humidifier in the morning light in a living room

Maintain a Healthy Level of Humidity

While humidity is often thought of as a condition that’s to be avoided, a healthy level of humidity can promote the prevention of mold growth and dust build-up. Optimal humidity levels are said to be under 50% (typically 30-40%) in the home. This, of course, depends on the temperature outside of the home.

There are methods that can be used to increase humidity manually in the home during the colder months if the home does not have a central humidifier. Also, simple humidifier machines can be placed throughout the house, yet these devices will require regular maintenance and adequate water to work efficiently.

Perform Routine Home Audits

While daily and weekly clean-ups are sufficient to maintain minimal dust throughout the home, scheduling a more thorough clean on a monthly or even quarterly basis is key to maintaining an optimally clean home environment.

Checking the floors and walls for possible mold and revisiting previously cleaned areas to ensure that nothing was missed is a great home audit strategy for maintaining an allergen-free home.

It may also be worth considering hiring a company to clean the central HVAC system to decrease the overall allergen load.

Remain up-to-date with Medications

In addition to maintaining the home environment, it’s also important to ensure that the medications responsible for managing allergy symptoms are both easily accessible and up-to-date.

These medications include antihistamines, asthma inhalers, and EpiPens to be the best prepared for these situations in the home.

Avoid Allowing Food Triggers into the Home

Finally, avoid bringing food-related triggers into the home. Even if they are mild allergies, it’s best not to allow those symptoms to occur at all.

One last point about food is to make sure to clean up properly after eating meals or snacks since crumbs and debris left over from food can induce insect infestation. An allergy to insects is often present in individuals, and this can create undesirable symptoms.

Final Thoughts

Managing allergies and preventing triggers from being present can be controlled in the home. While it involves a level of effort, upkeep, and consistency, the result can be profound in protecting the individual with allergies.

It’s worth considering the investment in time or money to achieve an allergy-safe environment in the home.

Differentiating Between Mild and Severe Allergic Reactions

Differentiating Between Mild and Severe Allergic Reactions

Mild vs Severe Allergic ReactionsThe commonality of allergies is prevalent across populations, experienced by 50 million people in the United States annually, with Australia being widely known as the allergy capital of the world.

While pollen allergies are among the most common allergy globally, affecting tens of millions of individuals, there are several different allergy types, each causing some of the typical symptoms.

In what follows, we’ll be detailing the primary differences between mild allergic reactions and severe, life-threatening allergic reaction complications. Further, we’ll distinguish between the signs and symptoms that can be seen with these different scenarios and outline the most common for both mild and severe allergies.

Finally, we’ll seek to gain a better understanding of allergies and their etiology, exploring why these differences occur in the first place.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies are an immune reaction to an otherwise foreign invader, whether the body perceives it as foreign or it actually happens to be foreign or harmful. The most common types of allergies include allergies to pollen, insects, animal fur, food, drugs, mold, and bacteria.

Allergies are an immune reaction to an otherwise foreign invader, whether the body perceives it as foreign or it actually happens to be foreign or harmful. The most common types of allergies include allergies to pollen, insects, animal fur, food, drugs, mold, and bacteria.

a woman is urticaria on belly

Should the stimulation of immune cells be activated as a result of such an invader, bodily allergic reactions will likely occur, ranging in the severity of symptoms. Allergic reactions, then, are the complications resulting from this perceived or real foreign invasion. The immune system will cause a cascade of certain events to occur that can lead to other events occurring. If the number of “immune events” is minimal, then a milder allergic reaction is the result. If the number of “immune events” is larger and continues to grow, then a more severe allergic reaction is the result.

When an individual comes in contact with poison ivy, for example, they might have no response initially, but then later, they develop a small rash that is mild. Another individual may develop a rash immediately that then becomes bigger and bigger and causes skin breakdown and severe itch. In the second scenario, the individual’s immune response was much more dramatic, and a larger cascade of events occurred at the cellular level. It’s not known why some individuals have more dramatic immune responses, but sometimes it can be predicted based on a family history of allergies.

Mild Reactions Versus Severe Complications

While allergic reactions can range in severity from mild and severe and even life-threatening, the majority of cases are of a mild nature and are much easier to manage.

Some of the most common mild reactions as it pertains to allergies include general itchiness, mild congestion, and temporary rashes or hives. In these cases, the immune response is mild and doesn’t progress to a more severe reaction.

Anaphylactic ReactionIn rare circumstances, severe or life-threatening allergic reactions can develop. These severe allergic reactions and complications are typically characterized by a progression to worsening symptoms that compromise the body’s normal homeostasis, and the condition of anaphylaxis develops.

Anaphylaxis can occur when the immune response of the antigen and antibody causes effects on the blood vessels directly or secondarily. The blood vessel walls become more permeable to fluid, and the vascular smooth muscle relaxes, causing the vessels to dilate. These effects lead to leakage of fluid from the vessels and less pressure in the vessels, which is the condition of shock. An individual can quickly deteriorate and go into cardiac arrest in this advanced critical state.

Common symptoms of anaphylaxis include shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and weakness, progressing to confusion and loss of consciousness. This is a life-threatening emergency that must be treated immediately.

Causation of Allergic Reaction

Though medical research has yet to conclusively explain why these reactions occur, genetics is a likely contributor and is certainly a high-risk factor. Should a parent be allergic to bee stings, for example, their child is far more at risk of developing the same or similar allergy.

Whether a mild allergic reaction, such as a skin rash, or a severe allergic reaction leading to anaphylaxis and further complications, the immune system cascade that begins with antibodies attacking the allergen is the causing factor.

These allergic reactions are, for all intents and purposes, the body’s biological defense mechanism against real or perceived foreign invaders and substances.

While the mild symptoms discussed are likely to require only mild treatment and management, such as simple antihistamines, anaphylaxis requires immediate emergent therapy with advanced medication, such as epinephrine, to counteract the immune response.

Other potential treatments and management options include additional medications such as corticosteroids. In mild allergic reactions, some natural remedies, such as herbal teas and essential oils, have been effective.

Final Thoughts

The differences in mild and severe allergic reactions are related to whether the immune response is mild or severe. Again, this is different for each individual. The treatment and management options for each circumstance can be very effective and, in some cases, lifesaving.