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When we hear the word “allergies”, we hardly think beyond antihistamines. That’s because for many of us allergies rarely invoke a feeling of urgency that prompts one to seek proper treatment.
But did you know that allergies can greatly hamper your quality of life? No matter how old you are—if left untreated, allergies can keep you from living your life to the fullest. Right from affecting your social interactions to hindering your child’s development, allergies come with a ton of repercussions. Not just that—it can even lead to more serious problems.
“Allergies, if not treated on time, can lead to superimposed viral and bacterial infections—and even sudden hospitalisation for both children and adults,” explains Dr Vijay Baunthiyal, ENT specialist, Baunthiyal Nursing Home, Dehradun.
Today, we are listing out how untreated allergies can derail your life in the hope that you will seek timely medical help:
When you spend the entire day sneezing with a runny or blocked nose and itchy and watery eyes, you are bound to be tired. However, the ramifications of having an allergy attack go way beyond this.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can make getting a good night’s sleep difficult. Says Dr Baunthiyal: “A blocked nose can not only make you uncomfortable, but also leave you breathless. This can further cause anxiety, resulting in less sleep.”
A prolonged tryst with allergies can result in serious sleep deprivation which can impact productivity, concentration, and memory in adults and growth in kids. Not to mention, dull and dry skin with dark circles and puffy eyes can also be a consequence of this allergy-driven sleep deprivation.
There is no doubt that allergy symptoms can make you feel irritable and frustrated. When you are always under the weather—cooped up at home, feeling uncomfortable, and hiding under a mountain of tissues—it’s hard to feel happy. But did you know allergies can also pave the way for depression?
Multiple studies suggest that when you experience an allergic reaction, your body releases inflammatory cytokines as a response. According to a 2014 study published in the journal Neuroscience, cytokines are deeply involved in the development of depression.
But that’s not all! Improper diagnosis also has a role to play here. “When respiratory allergies are not clearly diagnosed, then people tend to go from doctor to doctor to find some relief,” explains Dr Baunthiyal. “And in the absence of proper treatment, symptoms persist. This cultivates a despondent outlook, where the patient feels that they’ll never get better. As a result, they tend to have a low mood,” he adds.
Imagine sitting in on a work meeting, where instead of focusing on what your manager is saying—you are occupied by your dripping nose.
“Allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes can make it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand,” he says. Dr Baunthiyal also suggests that these symptoms, especially when severe, can also prompt people to skip work.
Not to mention, allergies can impact your mood and sleeping pattern—both of which can contribute to a lowered productivity.
While adults suffer at the hands of reduced productivity and concentration, children with allergies can experience stunted growth. Don’t believe us? Well, then listen to the expert.
“Allergies involving the nose, tonsils and adenoids can cause mouth breathing and snoring which can lead to impaired dental and facial development. This can also cause chronic ear problems,” elaborates Dr Baunthiyal. He adds: “If an allergy is diagnosed or treated in children after the age of seven, then it also affects their dental development.”
What makes matters worse is that kids with allergic rhinitis are also more likely to develop conjunctivitis and sinusitis. All of this combined means more days of school missed and less playtime, suggests Dr Baunthiyal. Needless to say, both these things have a long-term impact on a child’s social and physical development.
A study from the Journal of Medical Updates also suggests that people who have allergic rhinitis often have reduced social interaction. This means less time spent talking to peers and mingling with friends, and more time on managing symptoms of allergies.
With the proper diagnosis of respiratory allergies, you and your family can live a productive and uninterrupted life, says Dr Baunthiyal. “The first step is understanding whether the allergy is perennial or seasonal. If it’s seasonal, then taking certain precautions during the season can help you reduce allergy attacks,” he explains.
“But if you have perennial respiratory allergies, then you need to maintain a minimum dose of antihistamines, as advised by your doctor, in order to reduce flare-ups,” he says.
For parents of children with allergies, Dr Baunthiyal says prevention plays a bigger role. “Ensure that your child doesn’t go out when it’s cold or dusty, or when the pollution levels are high. And if s/he does, make them wear a mask. Also keep them away from cold foods as much as possible. If they insist, teach them to eat them the right way. For instance, kids should melt ice cream in their mouth first and then swallow. All these precautions go a long way with children with allergies,” he elucidates.
“Remember, timely precautions, proper diagnosis, and appropriate treatment can help you and your children live an allergy-free life,” concludes Dr Baunthiyal.
Needless to say that allergies are not a trivial matter—something that will go away on its own without causing damage. So for the sake of your and your kids’ health—don’t brush off allergies as mere trifles. And get timely help!
To know more about allergies and how to manage them, visit www.allergyfree.co.in