Since my childhood, I always had a runny nose and sneezed quite often. People around me (including myself) thought that I was just one really sick child. My mom would always try to provide me with various remedies from all sorts of cultures, but none seem to work permanently. Temporarily they did help, but some remedies were quite bitter, so I would do whatever it takes to avoid it. As it turned out, I was actually a healthy kid…who happened to have allergic reactions.
This became something I just learned to live with over time. It was no big deal, that is…until I am doing something important like going to interviews, meeting important people, or doing group projects. It just so happens that during those moments (out of the 24 hours of the day), my allergies would decide to act up.
Of all times, why during these times? Couldn’t it have come earlier, later, or not at all?
Why Do Allergic Reactions Even Exist?
Having allergic reactions can be VERY burdensome, but it is actually one of our bodies’ very own defense mechanisms to protect itself. There are times when we may randomly encounter microscopic substances or particles that are hazardous to our health.
Rather than allowing the foreign particles, or allergens, to do its thing and cause harm to our body, our body is sophisticated in that it will go through a series of reactions to try to expel that allergen. We will experience symptoms like sneezing and runny nose.
This is quite an amazing process to see our body in action trying to rid of the allergen that is toxic to our body. Not quite so if the allergen is harmless though.
Sometimes, our immune system is just so sensitive EVEN to certain allergens that are NOT harmful. Still, our body may go through the series of allergic reactions as if it had been exposed to a dangerous agent.
This can be VERY inconvenient especially when in the middle of an important interview or trying to establish good first impressions with someone. Besides runny nose and sneezing, one might even have itchy eyes, rashes, or even hives.
Methods to Avoid Unnecessary Allergic Reactions
There are several ways to try to prevent allergic reactions from occurring spontaneously:
- Reduce exposure to potential allergens
- Use air conditioning as opposed to opening windows
- Use an air purifier to keep indoor air clean
- Keep the areas you visit often like bedroom cleaned, vacuumed, etc.
- Pay attention to the weather, avoid staying outdoors on windy days or seasons with high allergens around (i.e. pollen)
- Avoid long exposure to extreme temperatures
- Get enough sleep; your immune system may become unstable and act up more often at spontaneous times
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Sometimes it is almost impossible to prevent all allergic reactions from being triggered. Therefore, it is best to be prepared ahead of time. How can we do that? Other than carefully following the steps mentioned above, one can simply carry a small bottle of antihistamine medications!
Whenever you are struck with an allergy attack, you can take 1 tablet of over-the-counter antihistamine medication. This should be able to reduce your allergic reactions significantly for up to 24 hours.
There are different kinds of antihistamine medications to use but the one I like best is Cetirizine (a generic and cheaper brand of Zyrtec).
For some, Loratadine (generic form of Claritin) works as well. These two are great because they do not induce too much of a sleepiness effect (rarely from my experience).
If you DO want that sleepy effect during the night, Diphenhydramine (generic form of Benadryl) is another option. You will be able to get your sleep. But keep in mind that you will wake up feeling sluggish, foggy-minded, and grouchy in the morning.
These are some of the common over the counter medications you can get.
In addition to medications, there are other health supplies you can get. Especially with COVID-19 around, wearing a mask can offer some protection from certain allergens.
What the Antihistamine Medication Does?
During an allergic reaction, our bodies release substances called histamine. Histamine is a chemical released throughout your body which helps signal various factors like white blood cells, antibodies, and other immune cells to go to the “infected” targeted site.
This can create a lot of pressure at the site. Fluids will rush there which acts as a mode of transportation to allow those cells to get there.
Antihistamine, on the other hand, will work to block histamine from carrying out its “inflammatory” effect. As a result, the allergic reactions are minimized, or hopefully eliminated. All that pressure built up will disappear as well.
Alternatively, you can try a non-medicated way to treat your allergies. It is a super food called Spirulina which has MANY other benefits as well. Find out more about it at https://whyspirulina.com/
An Emergency Case
In the case that you have been exposed to an allergen that causes you to have difficulty breathing, please dial 911 right away. If you happen to have an Epi-Pen, please use and repeat in about 10 to 15 minutes if symptoms haven’t improved.
Even if you do improve, I HIGHLY recommend still seeking medical care. The relief may only be temporary, and the crisis may return again. If you need Epi-Pens, the only way to get them is through your primary care doctor who will write you a prescription.
Having allergic reactions is not the most convenient of all experiences. There are times when allergic reactions can be beneficial for you (hopefully you have the day off). There are even times when it becomes more of a burden. In the latter case, it is always good to be prepared ahead of time to minimize the allergic reactions. How again? You can carry a bottle of allergy medication around like Cetirizine in your work bag or purse.
In addition, you can wear various personal protective equipment to protect yourself like masks.
In the case that the allergic reaction becomes an emergency and you have a tight airway or difficulty breathing, call 911 and/or use an Epi-Pen. Especially with the time of COVID-19, make sure you also check your temperatures often. Other than that, please always stay safe and hope this helps.
Did you enjoy this life hack on how to control your allergies? Please leave a comment below!