Allergies: Nothing to mess around with

Allergies%3A+Nothing+to+mess+around+with

Tess Riecke, Staff Writer

I’m sure spring fever is hitting a majority of students on campus. Sadly, spring brings more than just rain, flowers and new life.

Allergy season has arrived.

But what are the differences between allergies and a cold?

One major difference in symptoms is duration. Colds really only last 3 to 14 days. Symptoms of allergies, however, can last weeks or months.

Most of the time when you have a cold, your body will feel achy and you will have fatigue. With allergies, most people don’t get achy and some experience fatigue.

The most common symptom of a cold and allergies is a stuffy or runny nose and excessive sneezing. While there isn’t really a way to differentiate the two while you have symptoms, you should be able to tell if it is a cold if it goes away within a few days.

If it doesn’t, then you should talk to a doctor or try taking some over-the-counter allergy medicine to see if that helps.

The most common allergens (other than foods) are pollen, animal dander and mold. During certain times of the year, like spring, the pollen count is higher.

I never used to have bad allergies. Only when there was a lot of pollen in the air would I get some symptoms. When I came to Wayne, I experienced allergies more frequently and more severe than usual. This is because there are a lot of different plants that I am not used to, so my body produced extra histamine.

Histamine is the main chemical that causes the symptoms. An allergen will attach itself to a specific type of antibody, which is also attached to a type of blood cell, which then releases histamine.

This is why most allergy medications have anti-histamines in them.

Allergens seem to be impossible to escape. But going to the doctor to find out what you are allergic to specifically can help you avoid large quantities of the allergen. Your doctor may also suggest to take an allergy medication everyday when you know you will be exposed to the allergens.

While common allergies can be severe, food allergies can sometimes cause death.

The most common culprit?

Nuts.

To some, nuts are deadly. I babysit a little boy who is so allergic to peanuts, he can’t be in the same room with any peanut products. I always have to have a couple Epi-pens with me.

Food allergies, can often cause someone to go into anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is caused by an overreaction of the cells that produce histamine. In large quantities, histamine can cause hives, lowered blood pressure and difficulty breathing and swallowing.
The only quick way to stop anaphylaxis is epinephrine (Epi-pens) which is adrenaline that reverses the symptoms.

Those who have severe food allergies usually always carry Epi-pens with them. I strongly believe it is important for everyone to know how to administer one in case of an emergency.

Follow the instructions on the pen about removing the lid and preparing the injection. I learned it was best to put the pen in the victim’s hand and guide the arm down to the thigh and push the needle in and inject them.

The thigh is the most effective spot to inject the medicine. The reason you guide the victim’s hand is so the injection happens closer to the middle of the thigh rather than going higher or lower on the leg.

It is important to call emergency help right away. In some cases, CPR might be necessary to further help the victim.

Suffering from allergies is not a fun way to spend the springtime, so get ahead of it and try to prevent getting severe symptoms.