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Education

Why Do We Develop Allergies?

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After I have shared with you my Nickel Allergy Journey, I began to wonder. Why do we develop allergies? What causes them? And are there any ways to prevent them? This is the topic of today’s post 🤩.

What Does It Mean To Have An Allergy?

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance that does not normally cause a reaction in most people. When your immune system believes something is harmful, it produces antibodies in order to fight off said harmful substance. In the case of an allergy, your immune system starts to fight and produce antibodies usually against, e.g. pollen, pet hair, or certain foods.

The reaction from your immune system can result in a range of different things. It can inflame your skin, airways, or digestive tract. In some cases, a reaction is mild. In others, your body can go into a shock where your blood pressure drops, and your airways become blocked.

Cat looking up from a table
Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash

Common Allergy Triggers

As said above, an allergy occurs when your immune system mistakes a non-harmful substance as harmful. There are a few things that are quite common to trigger allergies:

  • Airborne allergens; can include dust, pollen, animal hair, and mold
  • Food; look out for tree nuts, peanuts, whey, soy, fish, eggs, milk, and gluten
  • Insect stings; usually wasps or bees but some people also have an allergic reaction to mosquitos
  • Medications; penicillin and penicillin-based antibiotics are typical ones
  • Latex or metal; surfaces that you may touch that cause a reaction
Pollen on a beautiful pink flower
Photo by Magda Pawluczuk on Unsplash

Why are Allergies Triggered In the First Place?

There is a lot about allergies that is still unknown. Including why they are triggered in the first place. One assumption is that you have been exposed to it too much (usually this is the case with food allergies). We do know, however, that a lot more people tend to develop allergies now than ever before. The “why” has not been fully established from a research perspective. However, one has to wonder that the stress our bodies are being put under, convenience foods and refined sugar, and lack of sleep may play a role. We also keep our homes way more tidy than ever before not fully allowing our immune systems to do their jobs. They do not really have to “fight” against substances any longer because everything is super clean and germ-free.

If you do develop allergies later in life (such as I did), this may be caused because you are exposed to something your body classifies as an allergy due to a weakened immune system. You may have not been exposed to an allergen enough as a kid but are now hitting some form of threshold, or you move to a new area where the trees, grasses, etc. are different. Getting a new pet could also be a trigger.

Tissue box on a table
Photo by Pixel Rich on Unsplash

How to Manage Your Allergy Symptoms

Mild symptoms (for example hay fever) can be managed through over-the-counter medication or antihistamines. However, if you do develop an allergy please consult with your health care practitioner and an allergy specialist. Allergies can be dangerous and life-threatening (often-times food allergies in particular) and should not be treated lightly or carelessly. Your medical team will be able to work with you in order to avoid any triggers and manage symptoms in the best way possible 💕.

And that is it for this week 🤗. I hope you enjoyed this excursion into allergies and how they develop. Thank you for reading! Have you developed any allergies (early or later in life) and if so, how are you treating them? Let’s continue to have that conversation in the comments below 🥰. Beautiful cover photo by Jovan Vasiljević on Unsplash.

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