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WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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Allergies

Description: Allergic reactions can be as mild as sneezing, but they can also be life-threatening in people who are allergic to bee stings or certain drugs, such as penicillin. The most common allergens are pollen, dust, molds, and foods. Other triggers include animal proteins from hair, fur, or dander.

Symptoms: Breathing problems and skin irritations are common allergic responses, along with sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy eyes, wheezing, skin redness, hives, and skin itch. The most severe allergies can cause anaphylactic shock, which can be life-threatening, causing a dramatic drop in blood pressure that can stop the heart or complete closure of air passages and death by suffocation.

Number of Americans diagnosed: One in every 10 Americans suffers from some type of allergy.

Long-term problems/treatments: Prevention is the best treatment for allergies, beginning with avoidance of specific allergens such as foods. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications help prevent or minimize allergic reactions and/or control allergy symptoms.
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Resources

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Calgary Allergy Network

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

The Allergy Report

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