Allergy symptoms include itchy eyes and skin, sneezing, nasal congestion, wheezing, and rash. Seasonal allergies result from grass, weed, tree pollen, or molds. Cat and dog dander allergies are common. Food allergies include peanut or milk. When you have allergies, it means your immune system reacts to something that’s usually harmless.
During a reaction, your immune system releases antibodies. These are proteins that deliver a message to cells: Stop that substance! The cells then send out histamine, which causes blood vessels to expand, and other chemicals, and these trigger the allergy symptoms.
These antibodies are singled-minded. Each one targets only one type of allergen. That explains why someone might be allergic to peanuts but not to eggs.
You can come into contact with allergens in many ways: through the skin, eyes, nose, mouth, or stomach. This can cause your sinuses to clog up, inflame your skin, make it harder to breathe, or cause stomach problems.
What Things Most Often Cause an Attack?
Why do some people have such bad allergies and others don’t? Experts don’t have all the answers, but they say family history is important.
Some common allergens include:
- Animal dander
- Bee stings
- Certain medications such as penicillin
- Dust mites
- Foods — particularly peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, wheat, and soy
- Insect bites
- Latex or other materials you touch
- Plants and pollens
The first treatment for peanut allergy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Palforzia — a specially prepared peanut powder that’s consumed daily in small amounts that are gradually increased over months — helps children and teens better tolerate peanuts so that accidental exposure is less likely to cause a serious allergic reaction, the Associated Press reported.
Palforzia is not a cure, youngsters using the treatment still must avoid peanuts, and protection is lost if they stop taking the powder daily.
The treatment can cause side effects, including the risk of a severe allergic reaction. The FDA requires patients to take their first dose and each increased dose under supervision in a certified health center, and doctors and their patients must enroll in a special safety program, the AP reported.
Other treatments for peanut allergy are being developed, including a skin patch that’s up for FDA review.