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A Quick Guide to Allergies-Solenco South Africa

A Quick Guide to Allergies

I’m not lazy. I’m just allergic to exercise and hard work…and vegetables.

Fortunately, I don’t have any actual allergies but for some people chemicals and certain food can set off an allergic response that sees their immune system becoming their arch nemesis.

An allergic reaction is essentially when your immune system sees a certain substance that you have inhaled, swallowed, or touched, as a harmful invader and starts to overreact by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies then travel to your cells and release chemicals which cause the charming red, itchy and sneezing symptoms that we see. This generally happens in your nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of your stomach or on your skin.

Symptoms

Symptoms for the various allergies vary depending on how you’re exposed. So, if you have a skin allergy you might break out in a rash or hives if you use the wrong washing powder, or if you have a nasal allergy your eyes might itch and water when flowers bloom in spring.

Sometimes an allergic reaction can be life threatening and result in sending your body into anaphylactic shock which requires immediate medical assistance. The most common anaphylactic reactions are to foods, insect stings, medications, and latex. An anaphylactic reaction will begin like a standard allergic reaction but worsen as time progresses. Symptoms can move to shock and loss of consciousness.

Why me?

If you suffer from allergies you should call your folks and thank them. Research suggests that if one of your parents has an allergy there is a 30-50% chance you will inherit it, especially if both parents are allergic. There are occasions where your immune system develops an allergic reaction to a substance seemingly out of nowhere. So, where you used to run through fields of daisies as a child you might now choose to have that field mowed. This can be because the allergy was always present, just sitting dormant, and the sudden changes in your immune system and/or environment set off a reaction.

Common allergens

  • Pollen – also known as hay fever, or allergic rhinitis
  • Food - preservatives and additives, nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs, cows' milk, soy, wheat
  • Dust mites
  • Mould
  • Animal dander - skin cells or hair
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Medicines – ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
  • Chemicals – including hair dye and detergents
  • Latex – gloves and condoms

    Getting a handle on things

    There's no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed. The best way to cope with them is to avoid the allergens as much as possible.

    Several Solenco products have received the Allergy Foundation of South Africa Certificate of Approval - meaning they’ve been put through the wringer and come out on top. Thorough scientific tests have been done to show that they are efficient at reducing or removing allergens from the environment or that they have significantly reduced allergen or chemical content. 

    Chat to your doctor before getting a humidifier or dehumidifier to find out which will work best for your allergy. Dehumidifiers will help to keep down the amount of humidity in your home and result in decreased amounts of mould, mildew and dust mites. While humidifiers bring moisture into your home to ease breathing and prevent the dry air from causing an asthma flare-up. Just remember that dehumidifiers and humidifiers need to be properly maintained otherwise they might add to your problem by circulating the bacteria and fungi that may start to grow on them.

    Alternatively, if airborne chemicals and pollutants are your triggers, you might want to get an air purifier. These boost the air quality in your home due to the HEPA filter that captures 99.975% of particles including allergens, pollen, dust, smoke, pet dander, viruses and bacteria. Thus, alleviating the effects of allergies including asthma and hay fever.

    Who can help?

    Leave it up to the professionals. Chat to your GP about your symptoms, or if they can’t get to the bottom of it they might refer you to an allergist or immunologist to run a few blood or skin tests and further evaluate your allergies.
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