Allergic Reactions

This time of year we venture more out of our comfort zone.
Spending more time in the outdoors connects us to nature in ways that are extremely beneficial. But it also exposes us to some environmental allergans.

Many are highly allergic to poison ivy. This seemingly innocuous plant grows wild and rampant in our area. One day of weeding in the garden or hiking in the woods can leave you covered with blisters. It is the oil from the plant which clings to your skin, clothing and your dog’s fur that causes the allergic reaction. Wearing protective clothing will help prevent its spread – But remember to shed the clothing and wash them immediately. The oil can also get on bedding and cause the reaction to spread to body parts not originally affected. If over the counter remedies do not help, come in for a visit.

Another more deadly reaction is to bee stings. If you are allergic to bee stings, be sure and have an Epipen nearby. Take the pen on any hiking or camping trips. Vespids – yellow jackets, hornets and wasps – are the leading cause of stings. They are more aggressive than honeybees or bumblebees. These insects are attracted by sugar and sometimes will crawl down inside soda cans and sting the inside of mouths and tongues.

Anaphylaxis is a severe potentially fatal allergic reaction. The three major allergans causing this are food, insects and medication. The allergic reaction occurs after exposure and the immune system overreacts to the substance. Symptoms can include, general flushing of the skin; hives; swelling of eyelids, face, lips, tongue and throat; difficulty swallowing or speaking; abdominal cramping with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; drop in blood pressure; slowing of the heart rate; headache and light headedness; unconsciousness; anxiety and sense of impending doom.

The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms usually indicates the severity of the reaction. The treatment for anaphylactic shock is always epinepherine. People with atropic diseases such as allergic rhinitis, asthma and atropic dermatitis are at greater risk for anaphylactic reaction especially to food.

If you have any of these risk factors, please talk with us about the possibility of getting an epipen.

Annandale Women and Family Center – Gynecologist Alexandria VA
2839 Duke Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314
(703) 667-4064

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