Allergic reactions occur when the immune system is exposed to foreign bodies. The immune system is the part of the body which is designed to fight against harmful substances that may have found their way into the body.
However, there are times when the immune system just overreacts to some substances which might not be harmful but which it sees as harmful anyway.
For instance, some people’s immune system might react to substances like bee pollens and dust mites, while in some other people this reaction is absent. This is the reason why certain people are allergic to some things which other people aren’t.
Allergies can happen to anyone, at any age. It is even believed that a fetus in the uterus can also develop allergies. Some of the factors that may determine whether a person would be allergic to some certain things or not include genetics, exposure to antigens, family history, use of antibiotics and several other factors. This simply means that a child is likely to suffer the same allergies as his/her parents.
There are several types of allergic reactions but here are the most common ones:
Hives are raised, itchy welts that appear on the skin. They are usually short-lived and occur as a result of viral infections, medication or food. Hives usually cause skin redness and itchiness and would usually disappear after some hours. Sometimes, they may cause some parts of the body like the face, legs and feet to become swollen.
Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It is usually symbolized by a rash which appears on different parts of the body. It also causes dry skin and is accompanied by significant itchiness.
This is also known as hay fever and is usually caused by exposure to allergens like molds, mites, dust, weed, grass and even trees. Allergic rhinitis might also be caused by a change in season. It affects the eyes, throat, ears and sinuses and is characterized by runny and stuffy nose, sneezing and itchiness of the ears, eyes, nose and throat.
Asthma is a respiratory condition caused by hyperactivity of the airways which leads to recurrent contractions of the airways. It is usually characterized by tightness of the chest, shortness of breath and coughing.
This is a very serious allergic reaction which might damage several organs in the body and even cause death if not treated immediately. It may occur as a result of food, medications or venoms from insect or bee stings. Its symptoms include shortness of breath, low blood pressure and light headedness (fainting), nasal congestion, hives and tongue swelling. It occurs when the blood vessels are enlarged and blood pressure begins to drop and cause inadequate flow of blood to the organs in the body.
Home remedies for allergic reactions
Allergic reactions can be treated easily at home, using some home remedies. Some of the very effective home remedies for allergic reactions include-:
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is a very good substance for cleansing the lymphatic system and reducing production of mucus. To treat allergies with apple cider vinegar, mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (it’s important to use ‘the mother’) in a glass of water and drink three times a day.
2. Nettle leaf
Nettle leaf is a natural antihistamine which could be made into a tincture or drunk as tea to cure allergies. It could also be mixed with other leaves like peppermint leaves and red raspberry leaves for more effect.
3. Organic honey
Natural, undiluted honey is also a very effective antidote for allergies. It is believed that consuming a teaspoon of organic honey daily would help to prevent hypersensitivity of the immune system to allergens.
4. Saline rinse
If you don’t find the idea of pouring a pot of water into your nose scary, then you can consider doing a saline rinse with a Neti pot filled with saline solution. This is believed to be effective for flushing out allergens trapped in the sinuses. To do this, bring to boil a cup of distilled water and dissolve a teaspoon of sea salt in it. Leave to cool and pour into one nostril while allowing it to come out through the other nostril. If you are scared of this, you could consider using a saline spray instead.
5. Colloidal oatmeal
Adding oatmeal to cold water and using it to shower is a very good remedy for itchiness as a result of hives. Oatmeal is very effective for reducing itchiness while the cold water would help to prevent release of histamine by shrinking the blood vessels.
6. Calamine lotion/ milk of Magnesia
These are substances that contain high levels of alkaline and as a result, work perfectly to reduce itching.
7. Baking soda
Baking soda is also a very useful home remedy for body itching due to hives. Simply make it into a paste by adding few drops of water and then rub on the affected part.
8. Chamomile or catnip tea
Chamomile and catnip tea act as sedatives to reduce-stress-related hives. Simply drop the teabag in a cup of boiling water or mix the dried leaves in a cup of boiling water and allow it to sit for about ten minutes before drinking.
9. Gotu kola
Gotu Kola is another herbal remedy for allergic reaction. It contains properties that help to relieve itching and can either be drunk as tea, used as a body compress or made into a cream to be applied directly on the body as a treatment for eczema.
10. Essential fatty acids
Foods that contain Omega-3 and other essential fatty acids serve as moisturizers for the skin and help to reduce inflammation and itchiness. Such foods include Tuna, Walnut, Avocados and Mackerel. You can incorporate these into your daily diet for healthier skin or take in form of food supplements.
11. Exercise and meditation
Sometimes, hives can appear on the body when the body is going through a period of stress. When this happens, the best cure is to look for a way to relieve the body of stress. Exercises like Yoga can help to calm the nerves while meditation can also help to relieve stress.
All of these home remedies are effective as first aid treatments for allergies but should not take the place of seeing a doctor for adequate treatment.