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Why do we get allergies? How can we relieve the symptoms?

Twice I have gone into anaphylactic shock after eating raw fish that contained the toxin ciguatara that I have a extreme sensitivity to.  Others can eat the same fish and be fine. Food allergies can be very serious, because the food is usually already ingested before symptoms appear.  I have had my stomach pumped three times total because of allergic reactions and believe me this is not fun at all.  Certain foods and insects allergies can cause anaphylactic reactions in sensitive people, which could bring death if not treated promptly.

What causes allergies and hyper-sensitivity?
Histamine is the culprit, antihistamines the relief. The allergic reactions that you and I and many others are experiencing are caused by histamine, the body’s inflammation mediator. What does histamine do? Histamine, which is an important protein in the body and upon its release it can cause allergic symptoms to appear. Histamine’s response to an allergen, along with other chemicals in our bodies, causes constriction of the airways which can result in restricted breathing. Though histamine is a protective mechanism of the body, its over activation may result in life-threatening situations and worse, death.

Histamine symptoms might include:
Restricted breathing. Headache is felt as a pulsating, whole-head pain, often with a sense of pressure. Fast heart beat, blood pressure falls, irregular beats with alarming palpitations. Skin sensations  local itching or burning sensation, flushing and a disagreeable heat. Stomach pain because acid secretion increases;  small intestine contracts with crampy pain Respiratory – nose swelling, congestion, sneezing and wheezing.  Anxiety and agitation with diffuse, deep, odd body sensations:”…my bones hurt”, “I feel creepy all over”, “…a deep pricking, crawling sensation…” “like fire ants crawling all over you”. watery eyes, puffy eyes, dark circles under the eyes, hives, itching, clogged ears and decreased sense of smell, coughing, sore throat.

For anaphylactic emergencies:

For anaphylactic shock  having an epinephrine autoinjector is very important. Most people with life threatening allergies carry one at all time. Visit this site for very complete information about EpiPens: http://www.epipen.com/page/about-epipen-auto-injector-index

An allergic reaction is an immune response that should not be occurring because the substance that triggers it should not be dangerous to us. Allowing our immune system to run its course against allergens means living with annoying and potentially dangerous symptoms. I usually don’t believe in taking a lot of medicines, but the use of antihistamines allows allergy sufferers to live more safely and comfortably by counteracting the body’s immunological mistakes.

You have probably hear about anti-histamine medications. They help because they slow down or inhibit the activity of histamine and alleviate the symptoms. Many anti-histamine medications are now over-the-counter. Still, it is advisable that you go to your doctor to be evaluated properly. Some newer examples are Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec, many of these drugs are now available in generic forms. Antihistamines have been in use since the 1930s and they continue to be an effective way to deal with the problems of allergies.

Please review this list of medications that contain antihistamines
(check your pharmacy for generic substitutes):

Actifed (Triprolidine) PBZ (Tripelenamine), Allegra (Fexofenadine) Periactin (Cyproheptadine), Antivert or Bonine (Meclizine,) Phenergan (Promethazine,) Astelin (dispensed as a Nose Spray), Polyhistine (Phenyltoloxamine), Atarax (Hydroxyzine), Seldane (Terfenadine,) Benadryl (Diphenhydramine), Semprex (Acrivastine), Bromfed (Brompheneramine), Tavist (Clemastine), Chlortrimeton (Chlorpheniramine), Unisom (Doxylamine), Claritin (Loratidine), Zyrtec (Cetirizine), Allegra (Fexofenadine) Prescription ONLY, Astelin (Azelastine Hydrochloride),  prescription antihistamine in nasal spray form, Clarinex (Desloratadine), Prescription ONLY, Clarinex D 12 hour (Desloratadine + decongestant in the same tablet) Prescription ONLY, Clarinex D 24 Hour Claritin D = Claritin + decongestant combination tablet, Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Over-The-Counter Palgic (carbinoxamine maleate), SOLTARA (tecastemizole Sepracor), Xyzal (Levocetirizine UCB), Zyrtec D = Zyrtec + decongestant combination tablet

2 Responses

  1. Margie,
    I’m so glad you mentioned that combination. I also take the Zyrtec and Zantac 150 together when things get especially bad. I was first told about the combination when I had an anaphylactic reaction for the first time.


  2. When I take an antihistamine I like to take Zantac 150 also. The two together really help my allergy symptons.


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