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Now that the evenings have become lighter and it’s getting warmer we are getting more and more of our personal training clients outdoors for their sessions. This is great as the scenery is better, it’s super for clearing the mind and the combination of fresh air and exercise makes clients feel even more fab than usual. But for those with allergies this is a pretty horrid time of year. Over the next few blogs we will have a look at allergies, what causes them, and what you can do to improve things.
The term allergy is used to describe a response, within the body, to a substance, which is not necessarily harmful in itself, but results in an immune response and a reaction that causes symptoms and disease in a predisposed person, which in turn can cause inconvenience, or a great deal of misery. An allergy is everything from a runny nose, itchy eyes and palate to skin rash. It aggravates the sense of smell, sight, tastes and touch causing irritation, extreme disability and sometimes fatality. It occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances. Allergy is widespread and affects approximately one in four of the population in the UK at some time in their lives. Each year the numbers are increasing by 5% with as many as half of all those affected being children.
Allergic reactions are caused by substances in the environment known as allergens. Almost anything can be an allergen for someone. Allergens contain protein, which is often regarded as a constituent of the food we we eat. In fact it is an organic compound, containing hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, which form an important part of living organisms. The most common allergens are:
pollen from trees and grasses, house dust mite, moulds, pets such as cats and dogs, insects like wasps and bees, industrial and household chemicals, medicines, and foods such as milk and eggs.Less common allergens include nuts, fruit and latex. There are some non-protein allergens which include drugs such as penicillin. For these to cause an allergic response they need to be bound to a protein once they are in the body. An allergic person’s immune system believes allergens to be damaging and so produces a special type of antibody (IgE) to attack the invading material. This leads other blood cells to release further chemicals (including histamine) which together cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction. The most common symptoms are: sneezing , runny nose, itchy eyes and ears, severe wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, sinus problems, a sore palate and nettle-like rash.
One thing is for sure is that allergies are on the rise, and in the next few blogs I’ll have a look at why and what you can do to help remedy the problem. Good sites for advice are the BBC and UK allergies