Is It an Allergy or Histamines?
Allergies can be very difficult to deal with, no matter the allergy or its severity. When you have an allergy you avoid certain places and situations and may need to inspect your food carefully, or be cautious about what you order when out to eat. Parents of children with allergies can also find them especially distressing, wondering if other children will share peanuts or almonds with them or bring flowers to school that will trigger an allergic reaction.
When you shop for allergy medications, you may notice many are anti-histamines. What are histamines and how are they related to allergies, and how do you know if you’re having an allergic reaction versus a cold or sinus infection? Many of the symptoms of these various conditions are similar, but it’s important to understand these factors because you want to use the right medication, and use it properly in order to ensure your health.
An allergic reaction is a reaction from the body’s immune system against something that it should not be fighting. As an example, when dust mites get near the body, the body may trigger the immune system a slight bit in order to keep them from affecting one’s overall health. However, those with an allergy to dust have an overactive response to these so that the body responds in an exaggerated way. Persons without allergies may not even notice that they are around a dusty area as the body’s immune system works to react properly, but those with allergies may begin to sneeze and have watery eyes and a runny nose; these are exaggerated responses by the body in an attempt to get these dust mites out of the system.
Histamines are part of those allergic reactions; they are created through the body’s immune system and help to fight off pathogens in the body. These histamines are connected to swelling of the skin and to reactions such as a runny nose and watery eyes. When you have an allergic reaction or know that allergy season is upon you, anti-histamines control these reactions.
The difference between allergies and a cold or sinus infection can be difficult to discern; the body releases contaminants through the sinuses so that watery eyes and a runny nose will get these out of the system. When you have a cold, you may sneeze and have watery eyes as the body tries to rid itself of cold germs, and when you have a sinus infection, the body does the same to get rid of that infection.
It’s best to see a doctor if you have continuous problems with sneezing or other symptoms so he or she can run tests to discern if you have allergies, and what type. A common cold may simply need time and rest, as do sinus infections. If you do have allergies, you need the right type of medication and to know how they work and how to use them properly for your health.