As allergies can cause more symptoms than just a runny nose or an itchy throat and watery eyes, there are many signs to look out for when you suspect that you might be suffering from an allergy. More often than not allergy patients will also experience a feeling of a raised body temperature or malaise during allergy attacks.
Assess Your Allergy
Do you want to know if those symptoms that you are suffering are due to an allergy? Take the test and find out!
Interview with Dr Antonella Muraro
The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) launched its Food Allergy Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of the sharp increase of anaphylaxis in children, an allergic reaction that is severe and potentially life-threatening. It aims at educating the public to recognise the symptoms and its triggers, and to teach methods of how to react in case of emergency, e.g. by using an adrenaline pen. Watch the interview with Dr Antonella Muraro about this campaign here.
Spring is here! The sun is beginning to shine and the trees and flowers are coming out!
But sadly for sufferers of allergic rhinitis (hayfever) the pollen season has begun – tree, grass and weed pollen. Depending on where you are in Europe there may be different species or types and higher/lower pollen counts depending on the month.
Allergic rhinitis symptoms include nasal blockage, sneezing, runny nose and itching of the nose and eyes. It can sometimes lead to exacerbations of asthma, sleep disturbance and affect your daily activities such as sport, leisure, school or work.
It is often well treated with antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids and nasal washes. If you feel your symptoms are getting worse or not controlled well with medication ask your GP or your child’s paediatrician to refer you to an allergy clinic.
Your allergy doctor may want to consider immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is the practice of administering gradually increasing doses of an allergen extract (e.g. pollen) in order to reduce the symptoms of hay fever or asthma that it causes. It was first carried out almost 100 years ago and is now in widespread use around the world. It is sometimes referred to as ‘allergy vaccination’ or ‘desensitisation’.
Most importantly don’t be trapped inside with your symptoms, see your allergist and get out and enjoy spring!
Allergies on holiday
Allergic people during holidays may be exposed to a new set of challenges, but it should not become a limit to the pleasure of travelling, it is important to take some precautions. First of all, contact your allergist to get specific suggestions according to your destination; if you're allergic to outdoor pollen, check pollen counters at your destination. If you're allergic to dust-mite, carry anti-dust pillow/mattress covers.
If you have food allergies, at the time of your reservation check with the airline-company if they offer specific allergen-free menus. When eating out, it's important to carry a wallet-sized card explaining your allergy and to show it to the restaurant’s staff. In case you're buying food, always remember to check labels carefully. In many countries, the ingredients’ label must include commonly allergenic foods, even when present in small amounts, but not all countries around the world have such laws. Therefore, unless you find allergen-free labels, it is better if you avoid snacks and precooked food; it can be difficult to overcome language issues; it can be useful to know the translation of your main food allergens in the destination’s language.
Take your drugs on schedule; pack all the drugs in your purse or hand-luggage if you're travelling by plane, in particular ask your allergist to prepare a letter, in English, indicating your allergy and the need to carry your drugs with you all the time, even during flights. If you need to buy anti-allergy drugs, remember that in most countries they are over-the-counter medications (you can buy them without prescription). Be sure to contact a travel insurance which will cover your medical assistance if needed. It can be difficult to overcome language issues.
Remember to check the active ingredient of your drugs as the brand name can be different in foreign countries; if you experience any allergic reaction, warn people around you and ask them to call emergency services.
Finally you can enjoy your trip!
Click here for more information on travelling with allergies