Body Talk (Allergies)

What’s bugging you? Allergies explained.

An allergy is your body’s reaction to a food or substance that might not bother other people. It’s basically your boy’s way of telling you it doesn’t like something.

Some of the most common allergies include pollen from flowers, dust, animal fur, nuts, eggs and milk.

Allergies can show themselves in different ways. Your eyes may get red and itchy, or your skin may break out in a rash. You might feel nauseous, or start sneezing, sweating and coughing. More serious allergies can cause problems with breathing.

Allergies in general are becoming more common all around the world, particularly cow’s milk and peanut allergies among babies and children.

Sometimes you might experience an allergic reaction, but not be sure what it is that’s triggered it. Your doctor can run some simple allergy tests to find out what it is that your body doesn’t like.

Anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, is a severe allergic reaction that needs immediate and urgent medical attention. Peanuts, other nuts, insect stings and some medicines are the most common things that cause anaphylaxis. Within minutes of exposure to these things, the allergic person can have potentially life-threatening symptoms, such as:

  • Difficult or noisy breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling or tightness in the throat
  • Difficulty talking or a hoarse voice
  • Wheeze or persistent cough
  • Loss of consciousness or collapse

To prevent serious injury or death, a person with anaphylaxis needs an injection of adrenalin. This can be given by the person themselves or their family or carer. Ask your doctor for more details.


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