Allergies: Are You Making it Worse?

By: Bel Marra Health | Allergies | Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 12:18 AM

AllergiesSpring is here and this seasonal change often brings in various types of allergic reactions. Sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose are a few examples of allergic reactions that develop during seasonal changes. For other individuals, allergic reactions can further develop into more serious medical conditions, such as asthma, which is characterized by labored breathing caused by the constriction of blood vessels in the pulmonary system.

As a preventative measure to allergic reactions, several medications are now available in the market. Some of these preventative schemes involve the control of the production of histamines, which are nitrogen-based compounds that are released by our cells when exposed to specific seasonal factors that cause allergic reactions. For example, pollen and dust can be cause allergic reactions to certain people, whereas pet hair from dogs and cats can trigger a response in others.

There are also preventative drugs that facilitate the widening of the blood vessels of the pulmonary system, helping a person with seasonal allergic reactions to breathe better. These preventative drugs are also administered to people with asthma and other allergic reactions to external factors.

For some individuals, air filters also lessen the presence of particulate matter in the air that could cause seasonal allergic reactions. This mechanical preventative measure is often installed in homes, offices, and other establishments, with the expectation that these tiny particles are caught within the mesh of fibers of the filters, instead of being inhaled by individuals present in the area.

Now if you adapt all these preventative measures against seasonal allergic reactions, will these totally result in better pulmonary breathing? A recent study published in the journal PLoS ONE showed that there are certain inconspicuous acts that may increase the risk for developing allergies and thus do not increase the preventative effect on pain or fever. In the scientific report, the use of paracetamol was shown to be associated with a higher predisposition to allergies. Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is an analgesic drug that is commonly used as a preventative measure for headaches and fever. Paracetamol has arguably been considered to be a safe drug, with some claims allowing it to be administered to children and pregnant women.

The study involved monitoring more than 1,000 pregnant women for three years, including collecting information on seasonal allergies and the frequency of intake of paracetamol. Common examples of seasonal allergies consisted of eczema and hay fever, which are caused by allergens in the environment. The study was performed in Ethiopia, which is a developing country that would most likely involve the simplest preventative measures for treating pain and fever. In addition, the Ethiopia-based study also removes the impact of air pollution caused by automotive and factory effluents, which are also known to produce pulmonary disorders in exposed individuals. The inclusion of pregnant women also removes the effects of taking other medications, since these study participants are generally unable to take other drugs during pregnancy.

The report showed that the study participants often take paracetamol as a preventative medication for pain and headache, unknowing that this act could increase the occurrence of seasonal allergies. In addition, paracetamol is a very cheap medication that can easily be procured even in a developing country. However, the study showed that a higher frequency of paracetamol exposure was associated with a greater incidence of seasonal allergies, thus showing that the use of this medication is not a total preventative measure for relief. The study has also mentioned that aside from paracetamol, aspirin has also been reported to increase the risk for developing asthma and seasonal allergies. So if you are contemplating on taking a couple of Tylenol caplets for your headache that is associated with seasonal allergies, this preventative measure is proving not to be as effective as originally thought.

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