Dangerous Allergies? An Expert Gives Tips to Protect Yourself
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Dangerous Allergies? An Expert Gives Tips to Protect Yourself

Allergic reactions can range from mild sneezing to life-threatening episodes where the throat closes and the airways tighten.

That’s why people need to prepare themselves for any potential allergies they might have, said Dr. Sanjiv Sur, director and professor of allergy medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

1. Everyone should undergo an allergy test to learn what allergens affect them

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These tests can tell what kinds of pollen, mold, animal dander, food and even medications will incite an allergic response, and predict the severity of that reaction.

2. People with allergies typically can receive allergy shots to help alleviate their reactions

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These shots train the immune system to become accustomed to the animal protein that causes the reaction.

However, the process takes about six months to show any benefit, and must be maintained for three to four years to have a sustained effect.

3. People with allergies to foods and medication are best advised to simply avoid the triggering substance

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“People with food or medicine allergies typically react more severely than those with just seasonal allergies,” Sur said in a Baylor news release. “If you experience a severe allergic reaction, it is always a good idea to let your primary care physician or allergist know that you experienced an event.”

4. Mild and severe reactions require different treatments

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Mild reactions to food or drugs can be treated with an over-the-counter histamine, but severe reactions might require an epinephrine injection.

The injection can be administered to the outer thigh. People should call 911 following such a shot, to make sure the stricken person recovers.

5. Airborne allergens like pollen, mold and pet dander typically cause milder symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes

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However, they can also prompt asthma attacks or exacerbations of other lung ailments, Sur said. People with those illnesses might need an inhaler to reduce airway inflammation and restore normal breathing.

6. Source and more information

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