27 Sep Allergies
Since 2011, we have performed more than 3000 consultations with allergists/pulmonologists all over Latvia. This is still one of the most required services.
According to the World Allergy Organization, one out of four children in Europe suffers from allergy symptoms. Experts predict that a similar trend is also present in Latvia. It should be noted that morbidity is increasing, and allergy symptoms are becoming more severe and harder to treat. One of the reasons why allergies are increasing and worsening is our lifestyle.
One questionable assumption is that the risk for allergies is increased by an overly-sterile environment. The reasons for the increase in allergies are being studied worldwide. But it is clear that one of the factors is heredity. If grandparents and parents have suffered from allergies, there is a possibility that children will also suffer from them. Usually there are indications during infancy, such as atopic eczema or food allergies. Growing up, symptoms can disappear or present as a respiratory allergy.
The World Allergy Organization lists food allergies and bronchial asthma as the most common allergy types, faced by 5-20% of all children in Europe. About 15 million people suffer from allergies in Europe. Nearly 30% of all people suffer from allergic rhinitis (hay fever), about 20% suffer from asthma, and about 15% suffer from allergic skin diseases.
Our Care Mobile specialists are working to diagnose allergic diseases, consult patients, and provide information. Knowledge about allergies and how to live with them improves patients’ daily life.
Focus of the Month
Allergies can start at any age. During the first years of life, the development of the disease is provoked mainly by food allergens (cow milk, eggs, fish, cereals, orange and red vegetables, and fruits); for older children and adults, allergies are usually caused by other allergens.
The term “allergy” (from Greek: allos – other, ergon – activity) was first used by the Austrian pediatrician Clemens von Pirquet in 1906 when he noticed that his patients developed various symptoms after contact with dust, pollen, and some food products.
It is impossible to eliminate allergies, so the most important factor is to avoid contact with allergens. There are cases in which allergy symptoms have disappeared as a child has grown up, but for the majority of cases, if not treated and if allergens are not avoided, the symptoms multiply and the number of allergens grows as well.
One of the most common chronic diseases caused by allergies is asthma. If medications are correctly chosen and combined, the disease can be controlled and its symptoms are not obstructive.
Our Specialists Recommend
On average, food allergies can be diagnosed in 20-30% of children. In the beginning, an infant gets a rash from a food allergy, then allergic rhinitis begins, which, over time, turns into asthma.
Food allergies most often occur at an early age. During the first year of life, the most common allergen is milk, then eggs, and later other products such as fish and nuts.
The correct diagnosis can be confirmed only after complex examinations, not based on a one-time analysis. Examination starts with a consultation with an allergist. Afterwards, the doctor prescribes the necessary diagnostic tests. To find out which product is causing the allergic reaction, it is necessary to perform skin tests or measure the level of allergy-specific immunoglobulin in the blood.
We at the Care Mobile use the ‘skin scarification test’. The examination is performed on the skin of the forearm, which has been previously cleansed with alcohol. A drop of an allergen is placed on the skin. During the scarification test, the skin is punctured with a special needle through this drop of allergen. No more than 15 allergens can be used at one time. After some time, redness and little inflammation can appear, thus indicating a possible allergy to the specific allergen.
Even if the result is positive, it is not safe to declare that the specific product causes the food allergy. It is necessary to perform tests with the respective food allergens, and only in the case of a repeated positive reaction can the specific food allergy be diagnosed.
- Allergic rhinitis (running nose),
- Allergic conjunctivitis (eye redness and pain),
- Bronchial spasms, heavy breathing, shortness of breath, sometimes even asthma attacks,
- Various skin eruptions – eczema, hives, and contact dermatitis. In the case of food allergies, the typical localizations of eruptions are the joints, the stomach, and the inguinal region,
- Possible headaches, loss of hearing, ear pain.
Most common allergens:
- Household origin (dust, dust mites),
- Pollen (plant and tree),
- Pets (wool, skin particles, discharge),
- Fungi (mold, yeast),
- Bacteria (toxins created by microbes, for example, Staphylococcus aureus),
- Proteins from donor blood plasma and vaccines,
- Food products,
- Household chemicals: detergents, whiteners, oil paint, cosmetics,
- Medicines: antibiotics, sulfonamides, iodine and bromide preparations,Bug bites: mosquitoes, bees, wasps,
- Bug bites: mosquitoes, bees, wasps,
- Nickel alloys,
- Latex products.
Summer is approaching, and the insects have awakened. Serious allergic reactions are often caused by insect bites. Learn how to recognize these reactions, and what to do when they occur!
Allergy to insect bites:
When an insect bites for the first time, there is often no allergic reaction. The reaction progresses over time, when the amount of bites increases.
Most often the symptoms are swelling, inflammation at the site of the bite, a rash all over the body, shortness of breath, a drop in blood pressure, nausea, and less often – shock. Sometimes an allergy caused by an insect bite can be lethal. If you see a serious allergic reaction, emergency medical assistance should be provided immediately. Call 113!
How to avoid allergens:
- Remove soft toys, carpets, bookshelves, thick curtains, TV set, computer (they have the biggest dust concentration) from the bedroom and from the rooms where you spend the most time,
- Change all down, feather and wool mattresses, pillows, and blankets to synthetic ones,
- Try to maintain no more than 40% humidity in your apartment – it decreases the intensity of propagation of fungus and mites,
- Do not keep pets of any kind, including birds or fish (even if you are not allergic to animal epidermis),
- Do not keep household plants,
- Avoid open bookshelves; books should be kept “behind glass”,
- Regularly clean the rooms which have favorable conditions for developing mold (bathroom, basement),
- For cleaning, use detergents that prevent the development of fungi (solutions containing chlorine, boric acid, or baking soda),
- Dry clothes in well-aired rooms, not living rooms,
- Do not work in the garden in spring or autumn,
- Do not leave the city during the blooming season for allergic plants,
- Regularly rinse the nasal cavities, especially after returning from a walk, to limit contact with allergens.
Foods that often cause allergies:
- Citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, lime etc.),
- Nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts etc.),
- Fish and fish products (raw and salted fish, fish boullion, canned fish etc.),
- Chicken meat and products,
- Chocolate and chocolate cookies,
- Smoked products,Vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, and other condiments,
- Vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, and other condiments,
- Horseradish, garden radish, radish,
- Tomatoes, eggplant,
- Strawberries, melons, pineapples,
- Boiled beef,
- Cereal and vegetable soups,
- Olive and sunflower oil,
- Oatmeal, buckwheat, and rice porridge,
- Cultured products – cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, buttermilk,
- Fresh cucumber, dill, parsley,Baked apples,
- Baked apples,
Stay cautious and stick to the rules, and allergies will not trouble you! And, our Care Mobile specialists are always ready to help.