Just how serious are allergies? Well, if one talks to experts, they would say that it really depends on the person and the symptoms they're exhibiting. In general, notable symptoms of allergies are asthmatic respiratory problems, conjunctivitis, eczema, and anaphylaxis brought on by stinging insects, foods, and/or airborne substances. But depending on the level of reaction one has, it could be an allergy or something way less important. This tends to leave parents a little bewildered about the legitimacy of allergies in general. This is why we've decided to create this article. We want parents to gain a little bit of clarity on the subject and get enticed to do some research of their own.
For this article, we've sourced a bunch of information from an assortment of high-profile registered nurses; all of which are cited at the bottom of the article. Each of these nurses offers expertise based on a variety of factors including their training, values, and specialties. Some of the information they have to give aim to inform you about some of the scenarios where allergies are legitimate, other times where they appear a little less important, and how they affect those other than the individual. Without further ado, here is A Nurse's Opinion On The Legitimacy Of Allergies.
20 Allergies Affect More People Than We Think
Registered nurse, Sue Cross BSc, wants people to know that legitimate allergies are far more common than most believe. In fact, they affect as many as one in three individuals in the United Kingdom. According to the Royal College of Physcians (2003), this number is actually growing year-by-year. Similar numbers are present in Canada and The States, as well. So, if you look around your child's school chances are quite a few kids are dealing with them.
Additionally, these allergies are posing increasingly complex problems that can involve investigations of all organs and parts of the body. In short, it's not as easily explainable as many of us have been led to believe.
19 Sometimes Colds Are More Legitimate Allergies
Sometimes we pass off someone's allergies as a common cold. After all, the symptoms can be very similar. It can be hard to tell the difference. But nurses Sue Cross, Sallie Buck, and Jane Hubbard say that people can have Rhinitis symptoms, which are pretty much the same as those of a cold. These symptoms may be seasonal or perennial. Either way, they can easily alter the quality of one's life if they are persistent. Essentially, it's like having a permanent cold. This is unfortunate as avoidance measures combined with antihistamines or topical corticosteroids, or both, can be a complete drag to have to take consistently. Luckily, both have been proven to be decently effective when battling minor symptoms.
18 Accurate Diagnosis Can Take Time
According to nurses, one of the most challenging aspects of finding out if allergies are legitimate or not is the testing process. Accurate allergy diagnosis can often be limited by consultation time. Consultation times tend to be quite short as there are so many people who need to see nurses and doctors. However, a patient giving their nurse or doctor the full history of their allergies can speed up the process as it will allow the experts to test more efficiently. Even still, testing can take forever as there are also a ton of variables at play. Someone could think they are allergic to one thing but be allergic to something else entirely. Or, they may just be having a one-time reaction due to another variable. This makes it hard to determine the legitimacy of the allergy.
17 There Aren't Enough Experts To Deal With Allergies
As we've just spoken about, it can be difficult to determine the legitimacy and/or the cause of an allergy due to short consultation times. What makes consultation times even shorter is the lack of experts in this field. RN Sue Cross says that The UK (as well as most developed countries such as Canada and The States) just doesn't have a comprehensive service. Patients are often subjected to a laundry list of referrals to different specialists such as chest physicians, dermatologists, immunologists, pediatricians, and dietitians in order to determine the cause. Depending on one's region, this can be more than just time-consuming, it can be costly. This proves the need for more experts in allergens.
16 Food Allergies Can Be The Most Harmful
We all know the hassles of making sure our kids' lunch is nut-free. After all, some of our children are particular eaters and may just gravitate toward nuts. But nuts, as well as other foods such as shell-fish, can pose absolutely legitimate problems for people of all ages, not just children. As nurses Sue Cross, Sallie Buck, and Jane Hubbard say, allergen avoidance may just be life-saving, depending on the situation. You can't get more legitimate than this. Yep, it's just that serious for some people.
So, the next time you're whining about having to avoid nuts at school or work, just know that you may actually be saving someone's life by contributing to a nut-free environment.
15 Food Allergies Can Lead To Malnutrition
Susan Simmons, Ph.D. and Rn, reminds us that allergies can pose even more complex and legitimate challenges to those who have them, especially when it comes to kids. Food allergies can often lead to avoidance. And avoidance can often lead to a nutritional or caloric deficiency. Sometimes this even results in malnutrition. This is mostly because kids and some parents don't really know what to substitute items with. Therefore, kids may not be getting the proper nutrients, protein, and vitamins they need.
Nurses recommend that parents and their kids seek nutritional counseling and inform themselves of the consequences of not getting the right balance of foods. This will help them locate proper substitutions for items that may have to be taken off of the menu due to a legitimate allergy.
14 A Medic Alert Bracelet Can Make All The Difference
You may see someone wearing a Medic Alert bracelet or necklace and roll your eyes. After all, does the wearer really need to announce their allergy for the world? Well, according to most nurses, including Sue Cross, Sallie Buck, and Jane Hubbard, they absolutely do. The inscriptions on the bracelets and necklaces give special alerts to other doctors who may be needed to help the patient during an allergic reaction. This information can be invaluable if that person is at risk of anaphylaxis and can't speak. The bracelet will tell others what kind of products would be harmful to them. This includes something like latex, which a doctor could easily wear while trying to treat them.
13 Some Food Allergies Will Resolve, Others Won't
Susan Simmons, Ph.D. and RN, reminds us that not every single food allergy will last forever. Most children who develop food allergies will do so within the first two years of their lives. However, many of them will eventually become tolerant of these foods. Although this is dependant on how serious of a reaction they have, it's certainly the likelihood. For instance, children with a milk, egg or soy allergy will eventually grow out of it and begin to eat it in small amounts. Although they will no longer have an allergy, they may have a small reaction, which is nowhere near as serious.
However, certain foods, such as peanuts and tree nuts, are rare and harder to become immune to. This makes them one of the riskiest foods around. Those allergic to them will likely stay allergic to them forever.
12 Dealing With Dust Mites Can Be Challenging
Don't worry, dust mites aren't as big and intimidating as the alien bugs from Starship Troopers, although they do look somewhat similar. But they do pose a legitimate issue for those who are allergic to them. Nurses like Jane Hubbard want parents, of kids who are allergic to them, to spend most of their cleaning time in the bedroom. It takes a lot of effort to rid a bedroom of dust mites. But it's important as they can really cause some people (especially children) to react.
If possible, carpets in the bedroom should be removed. The bedroom itself should be ventilated well. And all of the duvets, pillow cases etc., should be encased in dust mite proof material. Even then, the bedding must be washed twice a week.
11 Allergy Remedies Aren't Always Awesome
Those skeptical of allergies may simply say that those who feel like they have them should take the prescribed meds and remedies to correct them. But nurses such as Lesley Batten RN Ph.D. and Marian Bland RN Ph.D., urge us not to think so black and white. Some remedies aren't all that they are cracked up to be. In fact, some do more harm than they do good. Even when they are effective at taking down whatever symptoms one is having, they can pose legitimate problems in other areas. In some scenarios, they can cause symptoms such as anaphylaxis. Meds are also one of the major causes of relatively rare and idiosyncratic syndromes.
10 Asthma Makes Mundane Allergies Far More Troublesome
Those who have allergies may not have asthma. And those who have asthma may not have traditional allergies. But in most cases, asthma makes the reactions to more run-of-the-mill allergies about tens times worse. It's the almighty amplifier for outdoor, airborne allergens as well as allergies that have to do with animal hair and dander.
Melissa Gross, RN BSN CRNP, wants to inform us that tree pollen, grass pollen, mold spores, and weed pollen can have significant effects on those who are asthmatic. It makes it harder for them to breathe, and it can often get quite serious. Think of it this way, every time you step outside, you're breathing in pollen from the plants around you. Now imagine if that pollen could slowly take your life...
9 School Nurses Need To Be On Top Of Allergies
As we discussed earlier, there are far more people who have allergies than we may think. Often times, they are more prevalent in kids as sometimes they can grow out of their allergies. But while they are young, they can be quiet affected. This is why Sally Schoessler, MEd, BSN, RN, reminds us of the importance of school nurses who are up on their information.
It's the job of a school nurse to be aware of practically every allergy around. This is because it is likely that some of the kids they will see on a day-to-day basis will be affected by one or more of these allergies. In case of immediate care, a school nurse will be the first person to administer the correct treatment before the paramedics arrive on the scene.
8 There's A Need For Allergy Awareness And Rule-Following In Schools
Carrying on from the previous entry, Sally Schoessler, Med, BSN, RN, wants us to encourage schools to take proper allergen prevention precautions. Although some may find it a bit of an over-reaction, experts say that it's an absolute must. This is because some of the allergies that kids have (especially at their age) are completely legitimate. Parents trust their children's well-being to the school for a period of the day. Therefore, it's the school's responsibility to provide a safe environment for all children, especially those who are put in harm's way just because some other kid felt like eating a peanut butter sandwich. This is why rule-following and awareness are so important in and out of school.
7 Allergies Can Stop Kids From Exploring And Traveling
Now that we have discussed some of the legitimacies of allergies, we must pay a little attention to some of the things that they stop people from doing. This, after all, will help all of us gain a bit more insight into the legitimacy of the issue.
Whitney Block, a nurse practitioner, claims that a ton of the kids who come to see her have dreams of traveling and going on adventures overseas. However, due to their allergies, it can be really challenging for them to do so. This is because, if their allergies are strong enough, they will be reacting to an assortment of new pollens and airborne particles that will cause them grief. The very fact that kids are dissuaded from doing things that we all take advantage of should remind us that these struggles are noteworthy.
6 Pet Allergies Can Mean Separation From Beloved Animals
We all love our pets. In some cases, it feels like we love them more than our own children. Well, imagine what it would be like to love something that caused you great physical discomfort or, in some cases, a loss of breath. This is the circumstance for a lot of people, especially kids, who have a dog and/or cat allergy.
Growing up with animals is one of the greatest luxuries and responsibilities in life, but some children just can't do it due to their legitimate allergies. In other cases, allergies develop over time which causes parents to have to make the difficult choice to remove the animal from the house so that their child can actually breathe and live a happy life. This can be a very sad experience for some. But it would be worse if they had to constantly be around to something that made them so uncomfortable.
5 It Can Be Difficult To Determine If A Child Has An Allergy Or An Intolerance
This is where things get a tad more challenging. Susan Simmons PhD, RN, poses an interesting question to those of us who may not know the difference; how do we determine if someone has an intolerance versus an allergy? It's an important question because as uncomfortable as some intolerances can be, others may not be all that legitimate. Allergies, on the other hand, absolutely are.
The main difference between the two is that a food intolerance affects the digestive system, whereas an allergy activates the immune system. Food intolerances occur most often when the enzymes needed to digest food are missing. Unlike food intolerances, which make one feel a bit queasy or have hives, food allergies can lead to anaphylaxis and ultimately something far worse.
4 It's Important For Pharmacists To Look Over The Allergy Remedies
Lesley Batten RN and Ph.D., as well as Marian Bland RN Ph.D., claim that it's vital that pharmacists have a role in the process of obtaining meds that will remedy allergies. This is because a pharmacist can cross-reference the sensitivities and unique qualities of certain remedies with ones that the patient may already be taking. Although doctors and nurses can do this with certain online systems, they don't possess the specialized knowledge that pharmacists do.
They are so important to the process because certain meds can react poorly when in contact with others. Doctors and nurses can only do so much in this department. Rest assured, it's absolutely necessary for everyone to be on the same page as some allergies can be a serious subject.
3 Some Allergens Are Unavoidable
In many cases to do with allergies, nurses and doctors encourage their patients to distance themselves from the cause of their reactions. However, in some cases, the causes of their allergic reactions may be completely unavoidable. For instance, it's highly unlikely that someone who is allergic to pollen will avoid them. After all, they have to step outside and can't live in a bubble. The best course to take, in this case, would be topical corticosteroids and antihistamines that are prescribed by a doctor. They will help to take out the symptoms, but they won't get rid of them all. Unfortunately, some people have to live with these allergies all year long and simply have to manage them the best they can. It can be very uncomfortable.
2 Common Knowledge Will Help Those With Allergies
Nurses Sue Cross, Sallie Buck, and Jane Hubbard urge the public to create and maintain a stronger awareness of allergies throughout schools, workplaces, and the community at large. This will lead to better diagnosis and management of allergies by all parties involved. Additionally, this is essential for perennial allergic asthma in everyone from children to adults. This is because it's proven that the removal of things like dust mites from public facilities can help to reduce asthmatic reactions and bronchial hyperresponsiveness.
Everyone should have the right to feel comfortable and healthy in their environment. Although not everything can be tailored to them (such as the removal of dogs and cats), some things can be made better. If you or your children were in their shoes, you'd want that too.
1 Nurses Need To Protect Themselves When Testing For Allergies
Finally, a Swedish nurse tells us that nurses actually need to protect themselves when they are testing for allergies. Allergy nurses work with various tests that are aimed at diagnosing allergic responses and hypersensitivity issues. Common tests include a skin prick test, where an assortment of different allergens are used. This means that the nurses are around all of these elements, which could cause them problems, especially when they interact with one another at the same time. This is why they need to take precautions when in this situation. That's how legitimate allergies can be. Not only do they affect the individual, but also those around them such as the people attempting to make their lives better.
Sources: Nursing Times, NCBI, Science Direct, EFSA.OnlineLibrary, JamaNetwork, Hindawi.com, BSCI, Nursing Center, Daily Nurse, Med.Stanford, Nursing Review, Minority Nurse, Asthma Center, AllergyHome.