Do you know what an Allergy March is? #AllergyFree

by - July 04, 2020

Raise your hand if you know someone who has an allergy. That was an easy one, right? But what if I told you to raise your hand if you know someone who has an allergic march. Confused? 
It is okay. Even though you do not know what it means, you definitely know someone who suffers from it too.

image showing flowers with pollen which causes allergies


What are Allergies?

Allergies are basically an abnormal reaction to normally harmless substances. These substances – “allergens” are commonly in the form of 
  •  things we come in contact with through the air like pollen, dust mites and mold or else 
  • things we eat like peanuts, milk, eggs and seafood. 

Here, the body basically sees these normal everyday items as invaders and initiates a defense protocol, releasing chemicals like histamine into your body that are responsible for the symptoms you traditionally associate with an allergy. 

How common are allergies?

A lot more common than you imagine, actually. Worldwide, allergic rhinitis is estimated to affect between 10 - 30 % of the population. The incidence of school children reporting a sensitization to one or more common allergens is a staggering 40 to 50 percent. In India, studies show that allergies affect one in every three individuals. 

What is Allergy March in India?

Some children unfortunately have it rougher than others. For them, the progression of this abnormal reaction follows a specific pattern. Early on, they may have disorders like atopic dermatitis or eczema that affect their skin. This is often followed by detectable food allergies and then progresses to allergic rhinitis and asthma as they grow older.

graph explaining allergic march

This phenomenon of switching from one clinical expression of an allergic reaction to the next as the child ages is called the allergic march. 

It can be due to many reasons though genetic and environmental factors are implicated in most studies. Children who show signs of atopic dermatitis before the age of 5 years are statistically more likely to develop an allergic march as they age. 

How bad can an allergy be?

The spectrum of an allergy can range from leaving you feeling miserable all day to being fatal in mere minutes. Symptoms like itching, sneezing, tearing eyes, running nose and congestion can be extremely bothersome and ruin your day. It is sadly, not the most horrible manifestation of allergies. 

In its worst form, allergies can present within minutes of exposure to the allergen as an acute life-threatening emergency called anaphylaxis in which the airway swells, effectively choking the individual and leaving them struggling to get oxygen into their lungs. If immediate measures are not taken, death can occur in minutes.

How do we manage allergies?

It can feel like you got the raw end of the deal when you find out you have an allergy and need to be careful around things as mundane as a garden full of flowers or an exotic food buffet. While we have not reached a stage yet where we can eradicate allergies, we can definitely manage them. 

From early identification of the specific allergen via testing to limiting exposure to the allergen itself to using medication like anti-histamines, decongestants and steroids and even immunotherapy, there are many steps that can keep you safe and help you lead a healthy, happy life. Knowledge and awareness about allergies, in the end, remains the key.

infographic explaining what an allergic march is


Let me know if you have any doubts on the topic. I would love to clear them for you.
Know more about allergies and their management here.  

Disclaimer:

The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative supported by Sanofi India. Sanofi India bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health- related information.

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32 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this doctor! I never had allergies but in August 2011, I suddenly developed rhinitis and I did not know that you can get allergies just like that. It was because of a certain fabric used in our new curtains. And I had lost sleep because of it for days before it was diagnosed.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. When you think of it, most of us actually ignore our allergies assuming it is natural. But unless we identify it, we can't take active measures to prevent it.

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  2. Very well explained and detailed blog on allergens and Allergies that most of us tend to ignore. The tips will help us stay #AllergyFree

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  3. Thanks Roshan. This is really helpful.

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  4. Wow. Never knew such a thing was there. Scary really. Is there any permanent cure

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    1. Not many do... and I am afraid there is no permanent cure.

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  5. AnonymousJuly 05, 2020

    Thanks for this article. I actually had never heard of this thing called allergy march but it does sound like something a friend of mine used to have. She too had that skin disorder when growing up and then later all this. Not sure of food allergy

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    1. Even if food allergy is not there, there is a chance this is an allergy march. Just direct her to the link at the end of the post and ask her to see if other signs and symptoms match

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  6. Hey Doc, I did know about this but not the term. I'm so glad you touched on this topic. It's very important for parents and us adults to understand that allergies are very dangerous. #AllergyFree

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  7. This is insightful Dr. I mean the way you've described the process of how allergy turns into asthama will really help everyone.

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  8. Thanks for sharing this.

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  9. Oh I didnt know about Allergy March. Also it was worth learning to know the connection of food allergy with asthama.

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    Replies
    1. yes... people dont realize that way in which two seemingly unrelated things are connected

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  11. The important points about allergy March is well explained.Awareness is crucial.Thanks for sharing this

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  12. Thank you doc for letting me know the allergic March,this will be really helpful for naive people like me. I am an allergic person, I will take care of this situation

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    1. the percentage of people suffering from an allergy in India is really high actually...

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  13. Manisha - This term Allergy March was something new for me. It can be pretty serious affair, thanks for sharing this useful information.

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  14. Dear Roshan,

    This is a very valuable post. I never knew of an Allegy March. Though I've had allergies for a while now. Rhinitis mostly. And the last few months have been a regular occurrence. I have been trying Ayurveda to heal- including natural remedies, but I realise not taking an anti-allergic like Montair or Allegra is not helping. In the past I have been on Montair for months, especially when the season would transit.

    But as the pollution levels grew I have experienced more regular symptoms. It's a tough one really.
    Have worked on my diet as well, which has helped to an extent but not taken away the symptoms which continue to recur more often, especially when it rains, around AC vents, pollens etc.

    I take Septlin too regular. I'd like to know what are the long-term side effects of taking anti-allergy medication- the ones I've mentioned?

    Do allergies eventually cure with time? Or is it a life-long ailment?

    Thank you for writing about this.

    Looking forward to your peppy #WW post. :)

    https://natashamusing.com/2020/07/within-you-wordless-wednesday-wednesday-wisdom-natasha-musing/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Using montelukast is actually really beneficial especially before the onset of allergic season since it won't really help once the allergy occurs.

      I would suggest you continue it unless told to stop by the doctor who prescribed it during this time, especially since stopping it is resulting in allergies again.

      Try to identify the correct allergen or spot in the house where you are prone for it... It could be a blanket, a sofa cushion... If you identify it and avoid it, it would be better.

      Montelukast doesn't have major issues with longterm use. Unfortunately allergies rarely get cured and require more of a preventive outlook rather than aiming to cure it once it occurs. We sadly have to live with most allergies...

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  15. I'm sure you must be inundated with calls about worrying over allergies. But the fear is legit. My GP had to tell me what I had was a seasonal allergy and not COVID.
    #AllergyFree

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This has become a common discussion between doctors and patients in the OPD, I hear

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  16. March and April with all the pollens gave me a horrible time. It was only in recent years did I come across anti histamines else I just had to suffer through all the allergy symptons. Didn't know about Allergy March before. This is very informative.

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    1. There is a progression to the treatment phases... once you realize avoiding the allergen is not enough, then you need to go a level higher which often involves antihistamines and montelukast like drugs

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  17. Such a detailed and helpful post, Doc. I had no idea that there was something called an Allergy March, sounds really rough. It is sad that a lot of people suffer as they are unaware about Allergies.

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    1. so many actually dont know of it though as you can see it is quite common

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Let me know what you think.