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Healthy Home Basics - Allergies


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  • As many as 40 or 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergies?

  • Allergies cause swollen eyes, itching skin, dripping noses, lightheadedness and even death?
What is it?

An allergy is a strong reaction by your body’s immune system to something that would normally be harmless — a food, plant or medicine. Common reactions include a stuffy nose, itchy eyes or a skin rash. Severe allergic reactions (see below) require immediate medical attention. Many people who have allergies also have asthma. Allergic reactions may trigger asthma attacks, where a swelling and tightening of your airways that makes it difficult to breathe.

Signs of Allergies and Allergic Reactions Include:


  • Asthma, shortness of breath, cough, chest tightness or wheezing

  • Itchy, watery eyes

  • Itchy, inflamed or runny nose

  • Hives or itchy rash on skin

  • Dark circles under and around eyes

  • Recurring headache

  • Diarrhea or stomach cramps

  • Anaphylaxis (a severe reaction) may be life-threatening. Symptoms include: swelling, tingling in the mouth and a red, itchy rash, as well as lightheadedness, shortness of breath, severe sneezing, stomach cramps and loss of blood pressure. If these symptoms are present, go immediately to a doctor or emergency room for treatment.
What You Can Do

Know your allergies, and know what to avoid. Not everyone is allergic to the same things!


  • Contact your doctor about any unusual reactions to food, plants, medicines or other items.

  • Avoid contact with things you know trigger allergies.

  • Avoid being outside or having the windows open when pollen counts are high.

  • Read food labels carefully to avoid ingredients that cause reactions.

  • Choose medicines and home-care products carefully.

  • Keep a clean home.

  • Control pests such as mice and cockroaches.

  • Vacuum floors and upholstery often with a properly filtered vacuum.

  • Avoid having mold, cigarette smoke, pesticides and chemicals inside the house.

  • Keep pets out of the bedrooms of family members who are allergic to them.

  • In the event of a severe allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention immediately.




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Healthy Home Basics - Allergies:  Created on February 16th, 2007.  Last Modified on October 16th, 2009


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