Fitness Facts: Are those nagging symptoms allergies?
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
That cough that just won’t go away, that run-down feeling you can’t seem to get rid of, that runny nose you thought was a cold … these might be the result of allergies.
Did you know that allergies can develop at any time in your life? Just because you never had them before does not mean you will never develop one. They can develop at any age from exposure to the environment, foods, beauty products, detergents and medications.
Most people who are diagnosed with allergies as adults probably had an allergic episode earlier in life that they don’t remember.
Allergies develop when your immune system mistakenly identifies a substance such as pollen, mold, animal dander or food as harmful. That substance is referred to as an allergen. The allergen stimulates immune system cells to release certain chemicals, such as histamine.
Histamine is an organic nitrogenous compound involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter for the brain, spinal cord and uterus. It is involved in the inflammatory response and has a central role as a mediator of itching, which then leads to allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, or more severe reactions, such as hives or throat swelling.
Allergies are the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allergies cost Americans more than $18 billion a year.
Why do they develop for the first time in adulthood? What causes our immune response to turn on spontaneously?
The answer is still unclear. If scientists knew, medical professionals could stop them before they started.
But for now, if you have any of the symptoms below, see a medical provider for a correct diagnosis and guidance on how to treat the symptoms.
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Persistent dry cough
- Cough from post nasal drip
- Hoarse voice
- Fatigue accompanied by one or several of these symptoms