Writing Wednesday (12) - Research: Allergies

Disclaimer: I'm not an author nor am I an editor or any kind of expert. I only can share my aspiring adventures with you, but I do hope, it'll help many other aspiring writers and we can go along the road together. :)

Research is a sequel of posts within Writing Wednesday where I dump a lot of information on you on a given topic. Like, today's is allergies.

Describing things, any things, correctly is neccessary to a good novel. Just think about it how displeasing it is when you are reading a fundamentally great book, but the extreme dumbness and totally stupid and illogical way of things featured in it ruins everything. Not nice, eh?

But we are humans and we have faults and there are leaks in our knowledge. It's natural. We don't have to know everything. However, it is benefitial to know what you're writing about. That's where I intend to help a little with this series of posts. I hope, you'll find it helpful.

Allergies. Many people have one or two, or maybe more so you might want one or more of your characters to have it, too. They are quite complicated though, with varying severness and symptoms. Yet, it is advise to nail them well because the readers who have the certain allergy in real life may be grumpy if your description of it is a complete nonsense.

Without further ado, let's see a few of the most common.

Food allergies:

Lactose intolerance a.k.a milk allergy

"Lactose intolerance is the inability of adults to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and to a lesser extent dairy products, causing side effects. It is due to a lactase deficiency, or hypolactasia. Congenital lactase deficiency prevents babies from drinking even human milk." - Wikipedia
A constantly increasing number of people are intolerant due to our stomach not having been created to digest animal milk. When kids become it, they might grow it out sooner or later. Also, it can be treated with drugs that allow you to drink/eat a limited amount of milk time to time.


  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Gluten sensitivity

"Gluten sensitivity (also gluten intolerance) is a spectrum of disorders including celiac disease in which gluten has an adverse effect on the body." - Wikipedia

A very displeasant allergy as you can't eat the most common food of our era: bread. Well, you can, but only the wheatless type which can be quite costly.


  • weight loss
  • bloating
  • abdominal discomfort or pain
  • diarrhea
  • muscular disturbances
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • fatigue
  • bone or joint pain

Allergies to animals

Allergy to bees and wasps

1. Localised reactions

Swelling at the site of the sting, which can be more than 10 cm in diameter and last for more than 24 hours. The rest of the limb may be involved but no generalised symptoms are present. These reactions are more common in children than in adults.

2. Mild systemic reactions

These reactions are characterised by skin swelling and hives in an area of skin remote from the sting. Children experiencing these reactions are not thought to be significantly at risk of future life-threatening reactions compared to others. However, in older children and adults, such reactions are considered to be a risk factor for a future severe reaction.

3. Moderate / severe systemic reactions (Anaphylaxis)

Any or all of the following symptoms may be present:
  • Swelling of throat and mouth
  • Difficulty in swallowing or speaking
  • Difficulty in breathing - due to severe asthma or throat swelling
  • Hives anywhere on the body, especially large hives
  • Generalised flushing of the skin
  • Abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden feeling of weakness (drop in blood pressure)
  • Collapse and unconsciousness

The symptoms of anaphylaxis occur because the sting causes the release of allergy-producing chemicals (mediators) into the blood which can affect the whole body, and in particular, the breathing and blood circulation.

 Allergy to cats and dogs

Pet allergy symptoms appear during or shortly after exposure to the animal. These symptoms may linger long after the animal is gone. This is because the dander remains in the air, on furniture or on your clothing.


• Sneezing
• Itchy, watery eyes
• Runny nose
• Congestion

Additionally, contact with a pet may trigger skin allergy symptoms including itchy skin or raised, red patches (hives). Pets can also trigger asthma symptoms, causing wheezing, difficulty breathing or chest tightness.

Ways to minimize pet allergy symptoms include:

• Try not to hug and kiss pets if you are allergic to them.

• Keeping pets out of your bedroom can reduce allergy symptoms since you spend about eight hours every day in this room. So can keeping your pet off of upholstered furniture.

• Have someone who doesn't have allergies brush the pet regularly—outside, not indoors.

• Use a double or micro-filter bag in the vacuum to reduce the amount of pet allergen present in carpeting that leaks back into the room air.

• Use HEPA air cleaners, which can be a big help in removing unwanted allergenic particles from the air.

• Remove carpeting and rugs, which can trap pet dander and other allergens.

Keeping animals outside is only a temporary solution, since pet dander will eventually make its way indoors as it is carried on clothing.


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