Allergies are often called the illness of the modern world. And it is true that there has been a multifold increase in allergies over the course of the 20th and the 21st centuries. But do we even know what allergies are, and how they work? Most people aren’t sure. However, medical professionals should be able to identify and respond to an allergic reaction.
Seeing how children are especially prone to allergies, medical workers who are in contact with children should be aware of the symptoms and the proper way to respond to allergic reactions. PALS classes in San Diego are obligatory to all pediatric medical workers. Here you can learn or be reminded of various life support techniques. Advanced Healthcare Education centers are certified by the American Heart Association to perform these and other medical classes for both medical professionals and non-medical individuals who want to know the basics.
What are allergies?
Allergies are a group of conditions which all have one thing in common – hypersensitivity of the immune system to things which are usually deemed harmless, such as pollen or dust. The causes of allergies are both hereditary and environmental, depending on the allergy. The way allergies work is typical of the functioning of our immune systems. When a perceived threat is detected, antibodies attach to it, signaling the immune system to attack it. The immune system then releases inflammatory substances. This is the redness or swelling typical of some allergies. Sadly, this exact thing can cause the anaphylaxis in more severe cases.
Depending on the type of allergy, a variety of symptoms may come up. Some of the more typical symptoms are red eyes, runny nose and shortness of breath. However, it is not uncommon, especially in children to find skin rashes (also known as atopic dermatitis or eczema), sneezing, coughing and upset stomach. Additionally, the breathing problem can turn into asthma if not treated on time. The worst case scenario of an allergic reaction is anaphylactic shock, where the body releases a large amount of substances to fight the allergen which ultimately put the body into shock.
As there are various types of allergies, there are different types of treatments. The easiest solution is to avoid the allergen altogether. This is easy in some specific allergies, such as latex allergy, or some food allergies. But if the allergen is always present, such as dust allergy, or seasonal, such as pollen, some other methods need to be applied. In most cases, anti-inflammatory medication is given to prevent the body overreaction. These are most commonly antihistamines, but other medication is given as well, mostly corticosteroids. In the severe cases (anaphylaxis), an adrenaline shot is needed. Medically available adrenaline is known as epinephrine, and the most common epinephrine injection is known as an epi-pen.
Other medical practices include immunotherapy. It is mostly used for the environmental allergies, whereas its effectiveness when it comes to food allergies is unknown. The treatment is fairly simple. The sufferer is exposed to higher and higher doses of allergen in order to develop resistance to it. It is fairly safe and works best with children. The positive effects of this type of treatment can be felt for years after the treatment has stopped.
The number of allergy sufferers is on the rise in the developed world. It is estimated that one in five Americans suffers from some type of allergy. The numbers are estimated to grow, most commonly in children. This is why it is important for medical professionals who work with children to be prepared to respond adequately. PALS classes in San Diego will ensure that you are ready to respond. Contact Advanced Healthcare Education center closest to you to learn more and start your class today.