Some months ago, my sister developed some annoyingly itchy rashes. She visited our family doctor who, suspecting an allergic reaction, advised that she stay away from groundnuts. Well, mum was also forbidden from taking groundnuts years ago, so, we were not bothered. Genetics and inheritance would explain it.
Fast forward to barely two days after the visit, my dear sister was enjoying boiled groundnuts and contemplating how much groundnut she should buy to take with her garri (roasted cassava) later on. I reminded her of the doctor’s instruction to stay away from groundnuts and her reply was something akin to staying away from groundnuts would kill her faster than the rashes.
I told her it is because her allergy does not come with respiratory problems that would make her cherish every breath she could drag in.
Not this type of Allergy
By allergies, we do not mean the frequent visits to the toilet after eating poorly cooked beans or after eating from the canteen just across the road. Those would qualify more as food poisoning. We also do not mean the sad feeling you get when food is more salty and peppery than you would like. Neither is it the uncomfortable feeling that comes with being around certain people. That is when you will hear things like, “I am allergic to that guy.”
We are talking about overwhelming reactions the body has to harmless substances that can lead to distressing and sometimes life threatening symptoms.
So here is a list of 5 Allergy types:
1. Asthma: in reaction to things as ‘harmless’ as dust and animal fur, asthmatics come down with a serious difficulty in breathing often associated with a wheeze. Most times, they need inhalers to widen their airways and aid breathing. They sometimes need oxygen too.
2. Allergic Rhinitis: for this, the nose starts running a lot and is itchy on exposure to things that other people do not even notice.
3. Allergic Conjunctivitis: people with this usually have watery eyes that look brown or red most of the time. The reaction is evidenced by severe eye itching that could go on for a long while. So the next time you see a friend whose eyes look perpetually brown and starts watering or scratching the eyes, you might want to think “allergies” before “twas just a fly”.
4. Allergic dermatitis: this is probably the one my sister has. The reaction here is breaking out in rashes, itchy ones. This can be annoying and disfiguring especially if it has been going on for long and resulted in scars.
5. Food allergies: these are genuine, distressing, sometimes incapacitating reactions to certain foods. This is often depicted in movies, especially with sea food.
These are just a few of the allergies. It is advised that one looks out for the others if one allergic condition is found in an individual. They like moving together.
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