*This is a sponsored post. All opinions and experiences are my own*
*I am not a medical professional, information in this article should not be taken as medical advice*
Allergies are a right pain. I am very lucky that I don't suffer too badly with allergies, but the rest of my household are incredibly allergic (to seemingly everything) so I am well versed in how horrible the symptoms can be and how it can actually stop you from living a full life. But while so many people experience allergies the majority don't know what triggers their symptoms. So let's take a look at how you can identify your allergies to help reduce your chances of experiencing symptoms.
What are allergies?
An allergy is the body's a reaction to a food or substance. There are lots of different things that can cause an allergic response from pollen and dust to pets and we call these allergens. Allergies are extremely common affecting 1 in 4 adults at some point in their lives. Kids get allergies too but quite often they grow out of them (Remember those kids who couldn't eat eggs? Most of them can now they are grown up..)
What is an allergic reation?
There are many ways an allergic reaction can manifest. My allergy to Lavender makes my eyes stream like I am crying. My Husband is allergic to pollen, dust and cats and his symptoms are similar to having a cold - runny and blocked nose and sinus pain. His reaction horses is a little more extreme though, in addition to not being able to breathe properly his whole face swells up!
Other reactions to airbourne allergens include sneezing, coughing, skin reactions and headaches. Ingested allergens from foods can cause bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, itching and in extreme cases anaphylactic shock. An allergy to insect venom such as a bee sting can also cause anaphylactic shock.
How to identify what you are allergic to
Only half of the people suffering from allergies have a doctors diagnosis, and very few people know what allergens they are allergic to (some may not even realise their symptoms are an allergic reaction). If your allergy is relatively mild by the NHS's standards, you may not qualify for allergy testing via your GP. But even mild symptoms can be debilitating and it is very hard to avoid allergens if you don't know what you are allergic to! So getting an allergy test is a really important step to take back control of your situation.
Different kinds of allergy tests
An allergy test are either involve a skin test or a blood test. These tests give you a good indication of what allergens you are sensitised to and can help you to identify what you are allergic to. If you think you have a food allergy you may also have to go on an elimination diet.
Skin tests involve a scratch test, patch test or intradermal test where where a small amount of allergen is placed against or underneath the skin and monitored for a reaction.
Allergy blood tests are very effective in helping to identify allergies because a small amount of your blood is sent to a lab for analysis. The blood is tested for the presence of IgE antibodies and because they are different depending on what they are reacting to the allergy blood test can pinpoint what allergens you are sensitised to.
Home allergy tests
If you suspect you may have an allergy and can't get a test via your GP a home allergy test from Klarify may be a good starting point. The easy to use kit contains everything you need to take a small blood test and send it to their partner lab. The lab tests for 294 different allergens including pollens, animals, mites and foods. The test results show the amount of IgE allergens in your blood and can indicate if you are sensitive to any of the allergens tested. You get the results online within 2 weeks of posting your sample off.
How to manage your allergy
Once you know what you are allergic to you can start looking into how you can improve your quality of life. This can be changes to your daily routine (Note to self: avoid the huge lavender bush on the school run), changing items in your home such as switching from down bedding to hypoallergenic options and, of course, you can look into what medications are available either over the counter or from your GP.
There will still be some trial and error and you may find it impossible to completely avoid your allergen (dust will always be present in varying amounts in our house!) but it'll be much easier to identify what you need to avoid and hopefully you'll minimise your symptoms.
*This is a sponsored post. All opinions and experiences are my own.*
*I am not a medical professional, information in this article should not be taken as medical advice.*
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.