Everything you should know about allergies!

Many people think allergies are a fad, but the fact is that allergies have risen sharply in recent years. Around 20 percent of adults and a third of children in Europe now suffer from allergic reactions or even severe allergies. In the case of an allergy, pathogens penetrate the body and if the immune system cannot produce antibodies against them, a serious illness can occur. An allergy is a little different, because there is a kind of misdirection of the immune system and the defense mechanism that is found in every human body reacts with an allergy.

allergy test

1. How can an allergy be detected?

The symptoms that occur with an allergy are of course not always the same. The main thing here is whether an allergy wants to settle in the body for a long time, or whether it is seasonal, for example with a pollen allergy. When an immune system overreacts, there are some characteristics that could indicate an allergy. They range from irritation of the mucous membranes, which in the case of hay fever goes hand in hand with sneezing and watery eyes, or inflammation of the skin, as is the case with contact eczema. The worst thing an allergy can bring is anaphylactic shock, which can lead to a life-threatening circulatory collapse.

Which people can be prone to allergies!

It is often children, because their immune system is not yet fully developed and therefore they suffer from an allergy from an early age, but it often does not occur until later in life, when an allergy can be either strong or weak. It is often even entire families who suffer from an allergy, in which case it is the predisposition that has caused it. An allergy can certainly be hereditary, for example in the case of asthma, although sensitization to allergens already takes place in the womb.

2. Hay fever

Many people have a bad feeling every year when spring approaches, because as soon as the first pollen starts flying through the air, it starts again. The eyes water and the nose inevitably begins to run. Grass and cereal pollen or other early bloomers such as birch or alder are the triggers for this. Hay fever or pollinosis is an allergy to flower pollen, it mainly occurs in spring or summer. How severely or how long a person suffers from hay fever depends on how long the flowering period is and, above all, on the length of the pollen flight phase. It may well happen that these people suffer more in one year and less in another year. Hay fever is a seasonal disease and these people are perfectly healthy in the fall and winter. Hay fever differs significantly from other allergies such as an animal hair allergy or an allergy to mold, because these are active all year round. Since there is pollen almost all year round, because plants and trees have different flowering phases, someone who suffers from hay fever can get it almost all year round. Those who are hit really hard may suffer from it for up to 9 months a year. Hay fever is now becoming the number one widespread disease, as a quarter of all adults suffer from this phenomenon. Between 5 and 10 percent of children suffer from the symptoms.

Symptoms that hay fever causes:

  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Sniffles
  • Cough
  • Swelling and itching of the face

Risk factors are known so far, but where hay fever really comes from is still an unsolved mystery. Some doctors even go so far as to suggest that excessive personal hygiene may well be to blame for hay fever, while others blame air pollution.

The worst ailments can be alleviated

Of course, there are also a number of medications that alleviate the symptoms of hay fever. Anti-histamines or homeopathic remedies should be mentioned here. However, hay fever can only be treated with hyposensitization. This method is mainly about getting the body used to the pollen that triggers hay fever bit by bit. The whole point is that the pollen is neutralized before it can trigger an allergic reaction. If a doctor suspects hay fever, he will first order a blood test, but this does not provide 100 percent information about it, it would actually make more sense to check for antibodies against allergens, such as birch pollen. In many cases, the doctors also carry out skin tests, but these are quite lengthy and also very expensive.

Blood tests are therefore ordered for children, which saves them days of skin tests. If it is clear whether it is really hay fever, the doctor will prescribe a combination preparation in most cases. These are tablets, drops or sprays that relieve the symptoms very well . However, many of those affected rely on individual preparations, because combination drugs often have side effects such as sleep disorders, loss of appetite or tachycardia. If a medicine is bought without a prescription, the family doctor must always be consulted before taking it, because in many cases a pharmacist cannot make a correct diagnosis. A person who suffers from a dry cough in spring does not necessarily have to have hay fever. After a thorough examination, a doctor can prescribe the right medication, these are special antiallergic remedies, and he will also initiate therapy so that the right medication can be prescribed right away next year.

What else can be done?

For people who suffer from hay fever, the first thing to do is to see a doctor, but other measures can also be taken to help ensure that it doesn't get that bad. Protective grilles should be installed on the windows, they prevent less pollen from entering the rooms and so it is also possible for unhindered regular ventilation. Furthermore, it should be vacuumed and wiped regularly, which reduces pollen being stirred up by movements and flying through the air. There are now also special filters for vacuum cleaners that ensure that as little dust as possible is stirred up. If you take it very seriously, you should buy a vacuum cleaner with a completely sealed housing that lets absolutely no dust and pollen out. Pollen filters are also available for cars, but they have to be changed regularly. The disadvantage here is that the windows have to remain closed. For someone who suffers from hay fever it is not advisable to dry their laundry in the fresh air, because this is where pollen can get in and the symptoms reappear. If it is possible, it is advisable to take a shower in the evening, then pollen that has settled in the hair can be permanently removed and you can go to bed pollen-free.

3. House dust allergy

The symptoms are similar to those of hay fever, the nose is blocked and runny, the eyes burn and water, and breathing can also become more difficult, as is normal. Some days the symptoms are there and some days they are not. But it is worst at night, because a house dust allergy is also called house dust mite allergy and everyone knows that there is no bed without mites. The allergy itself is triggered by the excrement of the mites and allergy sufferers react to it.

The so-called house dust allergy is so insidious because it can easily turn into an allergic asthma. In any case, it is important to see a doctor first so that he can introduce the necessary therapy. Since mites always like to be where it is damp and warm, the only way to prevent them is to air the duvets and pillows as often as possible. Here it is best if you hang them out of the window. When it comes to bed sheets, it gets more difficult, for a person who suffers from a house dust allergy it is necessary to buy mite-proof bed sheets, these are so-called encasings. They should prevent skin flakes from getting on the mattress and then mites have no more food. Sheets and pillowcases should be machine washable at at least 90 degrees. What else helps the most is constant airing and preferably with a draft, when warmth and moisture are removed, the mites die and this also prevents the offspring from spreading in the bed.

Preventive measures:

Bedside rugs should not be given to allergy sufferers, but even normal carpets can contain mites. If not absolutely necessary, there should be no carpets on the floor, because smooth floors can be easily wiped with a damp cloth. In the meantime, there are also short-haired carpets that are also suitable for allergy sufferers. Smooth floors can also be vacuumed well, but a fine dust filter should then be considered. Children should avoid cuddly toys as much as possible, which is certainly difficult, but sometimes unavoidable. If it absolutely has to be such a hairy creature, you have to make sure that it has very short fur. Cuddly toys can also be frozen for 24 hours, but a 60 degree cycle in the washing machine is even better, because the cold kills the mites but not their excrements, so it is advisable to wash the cuddly toys regularly. Books and other decorative items should not be placed, because they also tend to get dust on them, so put these things away in the closet. If these measures are followed, it is quite possible that the house dust allergy will disappear on its own and without medication. However, a doctor should be consulted if the above symptoms occur, as it is better to rule out another allergy in the first place.

Treat symptoms:

Itchy skin and, above all, inflammation should be treated as soon as possible. If you cannot see a doctor immediately, there are also over-the-counter medicines available in pharmacies. These are primarily antihistamines. For acute emergencies, they are soothing, in most cases they are eye drops and nasal sprays that contain the active ingredient azelastine or levocabastine. In order to calm the itching of the skin, there are appropriate gels and creams with Bamipin or Dimetinden. However, you can only get to the root of a house dust allergy with hyposensitization. Here the body gets used to an allergen and can normalize in the immune system. The treatment usually lasts between three and five years and 60 percent of those affected are then virtually symptom-free.

4. Almond and nut allergy

Nuts, almonds and homemade cookies simply belong in the Advent season, but many people have to watch when others eat heartily. Spices such as cinnamon, anise or cardamom can lead to nasty skin rashes and even respiratory problems in allergy sufferers. Nuts are not only full of high-quality protein and usable fats, they can also trigger allergies. A nut allergy is characterized by itching or burning in the mouth, an extremely swollen tongue, numbness of the lips and swelling of the larynx. If it affects a susceptible person, it can lead to shortness of breath and even circulatory collapse. In most cases, nut allergy sufferers also have to deal with hay fever and if a so-called cross-allergy occurs, the symptoms will become even more pronounced.

What should I do?

If a person has been diagnosed with a nut allergy, the entire menu must of course be changed first. Nuts are found in many different foods and it can be difficult to identify all foods that contain or have been processed with nuts. However, if you don't want to miss out on these delicacies, you can replace nuts with oatmeal, grated coconut or amaranth. However, it should be pointed out that marzipan and nougat also contain a small proportion of nuts, so it is always better to pay attention to the ingredients.

Fragrances can also have it all

Nut allergy sufferers not only have to be extremely careful with food, but also the popular scented candles that can be bought especially at Christmas time can be very uncomfortable for allergy sufferers. Direct contact with the fragrances contained can cause itching or reddening of the skin. It can also cause skin blisters or breathing difficulties, and there is almost always a severe headache and nausea.

5. Apple allergy

But not only nuts can be fatal, because in Germany there are now two to four million people who have an apple allergy. In many cases, however, not only the degree of ripeness plays a major role, but also the processing and the type of preparation. Funnily enough, it is proven that it is almost only new varieties such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or Braeburn that trigger allergic reactions, with the older varieties usually nothing happens at all. Researchers see the content of polyphenols, which occur in the new varieties, as a possible cause. These are phytochemicals that provide a sour taste and are also responsible for the rapid browning of the apple once it has been cut. For allergy sufferers, it is better to use older apple varieties and avoid eating applesauce as much as possible.

What types of allergies are there?

There are a lot of allergies these days, and the trend is rising. From contact allergies to tree and grass pollen allergies to mold and mites, many people in Germany suffer more or less from the symptoms of these diseases. In most cases, the only thing that helps is going to a doctor to first find out what kind of allergy it is explicitly. It largely depends on the immune system which substances are used to treat an allergy and how far it has progressed. Various allergies can be controlled well with pills, creams or pills, while others can be life-threatening. To date, around 20,000 substances are known that can trigger an allergy, making it difficult for a doctor to make a diagnosis. However, it is always important that an allergy can be treated correctly and quickly, because otherwise it can happen that an allergy leads to a chronic disease.

6. Grain Allergy

Substances contained in grain are heat stable, while others are not, so it often depends on how long a bread was baked, for example. The longer it was in the oven, the more allergens were destroyed and then even allergy sufferers can eat this bread. The fact is: rye bread, which is known to have to be baked for a long time, can also be tolerated well by people who are allergic to grain. However, three-grain, multi-grain and six-grain breads should preferably not be on the menu, because these still contain the seed coats, which cannot be baked through during the baking process and which contain a particularly large number of allergens. Muesli or products with a lot of grains, such as muesli bars and the like, should also not be eaten. A grain allergy is often associated with hay fever, this is then called a cross reaction. It is most likely to be noticed if there is a grain allergy due to itchy eyes or a tingling sensation in the throat. The urge to sneeze is also not uncommon and a stuffy nose is another clue. Sometimes there is only an allergy, if Poles are in the air at the same time, if the same food is eaten in the autumn and winter months, no symptoms appear.

Alternatives to common cereals:

Although spelled is an old form of wheat, it is far better tolerated. In addition, there is a taste experience that does not exist with wheat. Green spelt can also be used, which is spelled that is not quite mature and is just as aromatic. A real alternative for every grain allergy sufferer. Kamut can be placed on the same level as spelt. In addition to its fine taste, it can hardly be distinguished visually from wheat. So if you like to bake your own bread at home, you can use Kamut and it is weighed in the same way as the actual wheat flour. Grain allergy sufferers can also use buckwheat, as it belongs to the knotweed family. It is therefore related to rhubarb and sorrel, but it can be processed in the same way as wheat. The most tolerable for a grain allergy sufferer is rice flour. No allergy sufferer complained of any symptoms after use.

7. Animal hair allergy

It is not uncommon for people's dearest friends to be affected, because the four-legged companions often resolve an allergy and it doesn't matter whether the fur is short or long, because the actual trigger is not the hair itself, but protein-containing components , such as sweat, sebum, saliva or urine. These sit in the hair and spread in the air. If they get on the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or bronchi in this way, they can definitely trigger an allergic reaction.

First symptoms:

Anyone who has a dog or cat and experiences red eyes, a runny nose, hives and sneezing attacks may be suffering from an animal hair allergy. If he has frequent contact with the animal during the day, the general condition deteriorates quickly and asthma-like attacks can also occur. However, the animal hair allergy can be recognized quickly, because if the animal is no longer in the same room, the symptoms subside quickly. But there are also people who have an animal hair allergy and do not come into contact with an animal at all. This happens more often with cats in particular, because it is enough if a cat owner comes into the apartment and hair is stuck to their clothes.

cat hair allergy

Cats are the most common triggers of animal hair allergies because hair collects everywhere. Whether in the carpet, on the sofa, on the wallpaper or increasingly on clothing. In some cases, raising awareness can help, and the breed of the cat may well play a role here. Not every cat necessarily has to trigger an allergy.


Man's best friend also often causes allergies, but they don't have the same symptoms as cat hair allergies. It is not nearly as aggressive and also occurs with minor symptoms. But they both have one thing in common, because even with dog hair, in most cases it is related to the breed.

How can symptoms be avoided?

  • Hands should be washed thoroughly after each contact
  • Cats are happiest in nature and should not be kept indoors
  • An animal has no place in the bedroom
  • If there is a cat or dog in the apartment, then a minimum of furniture and carpets will do
  • Animals should be bathed more often and daily brushing is beneficial
  • If an allergy is known, physical contact should be avoided as much as possible
  • Vacuum cleaning must be daily and it is best to choose a particularly powerful vacuum cleaner with special filter properties

8. Food allergy

In principle, any food can lead to an allergic reaction. In most cases, however, it occurs when an allergy is already present. For example, it is not uncommon for people suffering from hay fever to have an allergic reaction to artichoke, nuts and kiwi.

The anamnesis:

First of all, you have to look for opportunities in your private life as well as in your professional environment. First of all, the connection between the symptoms or when they appear and the severity is necessary, then the foods that triggered the reaction can be circled later. A doctor will first order a skin test, which is usually the basis of any allergy. The substances that come into question are applied to the skin and if a pustule forms, it can be assumed that this substance has triggered the allergy.

Causes of a food allergy:

The products that can trigger a food allergy must definitely be on the food packaging. Below are:

  • Grains containing gluten such as rye, oats, barley, etc.
  • Crustaceans and products containing shellfish
  • eggs and egg products
  • Peanuts and foods in which peanuts have been processed
  • Soybeans and products made therefrom
  • Milk and milk products, including lactose
  • Nuts such as almonds, pistachios and all other types of nuts
  • celery and celery products
  • mustard and mustard products
  • sesame seeds and products
  • sulfur dioxide and sulphites
  • mollusks and mollusc products

A large proportion of food allergy sufferers are affected by dairy products. However, allergy sufferers can usually tolerate butter and cream well because they contain only a small amount of protein. However, cream can easily be diluted with water and there is not much to notice when it comes to taste. Food allergy sufferers can use soy drinks with a clear conscience, since one third of milk protein allergy sufferers have not shown any allergic reactions. If you don't tolerate butter and cream at all, you can definitely drink rice milk. However, this has a completely different composition than normal cow's milk. It has fewer minerals and hardly any protein.

9. Nickel allergy

An allergy causes inflammation in the human body and this means that it wants to get rid of the foreign bodies accordingly. In many cases, this results in migraines, intestinal inflammation, itching and often skin eczema. The nickel allergy can also be triggered by various foods and which should not be eaten under any circumstances are these:

  • Oatmeal, buckwheat, millet, bran products and high-fiber foods such as multigrain bread or wheat bran tablets
  • Canned fruit
  • Chocolate and cocoa drinks and tea from the vending machine
  • All kinds of nuts and soy and soy products, as well as liquorice, sunflower seeds and baking powder

These foods cannot harm a nickel allergy sufferer:

  • Poultry, fish, eggs and all types of meat
  • Dairy products (butter, cheese, yoghurt and quark)
  • Vegetables (beetroot, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, all types of cabbage, mushrooms, cucumbers, potatoes, eggplant and asparagus
  • Grains and grain products such as cornflakes, popcorn, rice, spaghetti, other types of pasta and bran biscuits
  • Whole grains when consumed in moderation
  • Fruits and berries (figs, pineapples, peaches, and pears, but no raspberries)
  • Beverages, such as coffee and tea, should not be consumed in large quantities. Lemonade and alcoholic beverages, except for wine and beer, are not suitable.
  • Even with margarine, yeast, chocolate, marzipan and almonds, there are no allergic reactions

But nickel is not only found in food, it can also make people uncomfortable in costume jewelry or coins.

How does the nickel allergy manifest itself?

People who have an intolerance, or rather a nickel allergy, have to be very careful every day, as nickel is used in many everyday objects. Nickel is not only found in jewellery, but also in buttons or in cosmetic products and even in coins. Nickel triggers an allergic reaction in ten to twelve percent of people. When a person sweats, sweat forms naturally, everyone knows that, and nickel ions are released from the metal, these now seep through the skin, and the body reacts. Anyone who thinks they have a nickel allergy should contact their dermatologist as soon as possible.

The symptoms:

In the case of a nickel allergy sufferer, the symptoms only appear hours later and manifest themselves as reddened skin, itching and even eczema. If the itching becomes too severe, you should not scratch under any circumstances, as this can greatly delay healing. It is better to see a doctor who will then prescribe a prescription cortisone ointment.

How can a nickel allergy be treated?

A nickel allergy cannot be cured, because people who suffer from it should avoid any contact with this substance. If an allergic reaction has already occurred, a cortisone ointment or a little patience will help, because the symptoms will subside on their own after a few days away. What many do not know is that cigarettes also contain a small amount of nickel, so allergy sufferers should avoid cigarettes. In the case of a nickel allergy, in some cases a change in diet can bring relief and foods (see above) are then simply banned from the menu.

The prophylaxis:

People who are allergic to nickel should not wear costume jewelry or other items that contain nickel. This is especially true for the buttons on jeans or denim jackets. There are various tricks, such as masking them with clear nail polish or scotch tape, but this does not eliminate the cause. Professions that come into contact with nickel should be avoided as far as possible. This can be a hairdresser, cashier, jeweler or dentist. If there is no other option, protective gloves should be worn here.

10. Sun allergy

A sun allergy is usually shown by red and itchy patches of skin. It has not yet been decided in general how it occurs, but the fact is that it comes from UV radiation, but also from the ingredients of skin care products. It will soon be that time again, vacation in a sunny country or a visit to the swimming pool, because everyone wants to be nice and tan after the vacation. But instead of relaxation, there are itchy and red skin areas, the self-diagnosis means it is a sun allergy. In many cases, it is not an allergy at all, but an intolerance. The skin areas that are most affected are those that have been exposed to the blazing sun for a long time. Many suffer from it, especially in the spring months, because the skin then has to get used to the sun's rays again. Polymorphic light eruption, also called PLD, or simply sun allergy, can not only get people with light skin, but also those who suffer from Naturally have a strong pigmentation of the skin.

what can be done

If the PLD is only mildly expressed, damp cloths placed on the burning areas can help in many cases. Cortisone ointments from the pharmacy can also bring the hoped-for relief. A so-called sun allergy does not necessarily have to occur every year, because here it is your own behavior that leads to the allergy or not. Under no circumstances should the skin be exposed to strong sunlight for hours, as this naturally promotes skin cancer. Sun protection agents and after-sun products are an absolute must, and you should pay attention to the highest possible protection factor when you buy them.

Viet Trinh

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