Pigweed allergy is the immunological responses elicited by protein allergen contained in pigweed when ingested. Common Pigweed is a common weed found all round the world, in particular in the USA, Brazil, Europe, Korea, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Mozambique, Mexico, and Afghanistan.
Pigweed allergy, like other allergies, occurs because the body recognizes the presence of the allergens contained in then as a threat to the body system thereby releasing the IgE antibodies to combat the perceived threat.
IgE antibodies attach themselves to mast cells in the body and produce histamine as a defense mechanism to combat the perceived threat posed by the allergens contained in pigweed. The histamine released by IgE antibodies causes the actual allergic reaction seen in the patient.
Pigweed allergic reactions include itching, twitching, tingling sensation, etc
The truth is that these reactions can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the individual involved and how their body responds to immunological threats.
What is Pigweed?
Pigweed is an annual plant that belongs to the Amaranth family called Amaranthaceae.
There are several species of pigweed which include;
- The prostrate seaweed also called Mat Amaranth is found growing on the surface of the earth and has stems that is raised on the tip of the plant
- The spiny pigweed is made up of spines that is found at the base of the stalk of the leaf.
- The rough pigweed is a short type of p[igweed.It has a height of 4m above ground level.
Most of the pigweeds distributed all over the world belong to the popular genus Amaranthus. There are over 500 genera in the pigweed family and all these genera are found all over the world particularly Europe, USA, China, Brazil, Mozambique, etc.
The pigweed has a shallow taproot that is red in color. Pigweed produces seeds in very large numbers per plant an average of 100,000 seeds per plant and the seeds are black. Shiny and quite short.
Causes of Pigweed Allergy
Just like every other allergy experienced by humans, pigweed allergy is caused by allergens present in pigweed that triggers immunological reactions by the IgE antibodies in the body.
As mentioned earlier, pigweed allergies are caused by 14-kDa and 35-kDa allergens although they have not fully been characterized they are still the major causes of pigweed allergy.
These 14-kDa and 35-kDa allergens enter the body and trigger an immunological response by IgE antibodies because the antibodies detect the allergen to be foreign bodies that will affect the body negatively.
During this immunological response histamine is released tho nullify the effect of the perceived foreign bodies, histamine reacts and attaches itself to the mast cells thereby causing a myriad of reactions on the body.
Also Read: Cabbage Allergy: Symptoms & Test
The reactions elicited by the presence of histamine in the body are called pigweed allergy symptoms.
A person who is allergic to pigweed will experience or two of the symptoms at the same time or at intervals.
The allergic reactions caused by allergens can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the extent to which the body reacts.
Pigweed Allergy Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, pigweed causes quite a number of symptoms in the body because its allergens trigger immunological responses by antibodies in the immune system of the body.
The symptoms of pigweed allergy can be mild, moderate or severe.
The symptoms of pigweed allergy include;
- Watery eyes
- Itching of the eyes
- Irritation of the respiratory tract leading to sneezing
- Running nose
The above symptoms are very common with pigweed allergy and most patients will experience them once they come in contact with pigweed.
Pigweed allergy may start off as soon as contact is made with the plant or may take a few minutes before the onset of symptoms.
Pigweed Allergy Testing
To detect the cause of allergic reactions, the patient undergoes an allergic test. This test is called pigweed allergy testing.
The pigweed allergy is carried out by exposing the body to the allergens in order to monitor the reactions in order to proffer a solution or treatment for the reactions.
How to Prepare for Pigweed Allergy Testing
Preparing to meet your doctor for any testing at all need preparation, hence going for pigweed allergy testing also requires preparation to enable you to get the best out of your visit to the hospital.
Once you come in contact with pigweed and notice unfamiliar symptoms, it will be best to talk to your pastor as soon as possible and get an appointment.
When you have fixed an appointment with your doctor the next thing to do is prepare to visit the hospital for your allergy testing.
In order to help you make the best preparations, we have put together a list of things you need to do to have a perfect preparation before you meet your doctor.
So, if are going to visit your doctor for allergy testing soon, then please read through the list to get a hold of the things to prepare and how to prepare them.
- Prepare your mind for the test
- Writ down some important questions you may want to ask your doctor
- Wear a very comfortable outfit preferably short-sleeved shirt or dresses so the doctor can draw blood easily.
- Have your meal for the day as no fasting is required before the test
- Make sure you have your health insurance card if you are insured.
Procedures for the Pigweed Allergy Test
The pigweed allergy test has two procedures through which your doctor determines if the reactions you are experiencing are elicited by allergens in pigweed or not.
The two procedures are;
- Traditional skin prick or scratch test
- Blood test
Traditional Skin Prick or scratch test
The traditional skin prick or scratch test is done by either pricking the body or scratching the body and introducing a microscopic amount of pigweed allergens into the body to determine if allergic reactions will occur.
If you are allergic to the allergen introduced you will experience allergic reactions if not then no immunological response will be elicited by the body hence no allergic reaction will be seen. The downside to this traditional skin prick or scratch test is that the body is made to suffer through the process of reacting to the allergens that will be introduced into the body.
Blood Test for Pigweed Allergy
The blood test performed for pigweed allergy is done using blood samples collected from the patient within a few days to test for allergic reactions.
The result for the blood test will available withing few days and its less stressful as the body does not need to go through the stress of reacting to an allergen introduced in the body as in the case of traditional skin prick or scratch test.
What to do after the test
When you go for pigweed allergy testing, it is important to know that either of the testing methods will be used be it the traditional skin prick test or the blood test.
Whichever one used the result will still be the same, when your body reacts to the allergens introduced into the body, that is to say, that you are allergic to pigweed if not then you are not allergic.
If you are confirmed to be allergic to pigweed then it is very important that you stay thousands of miles away from pigweed and anything related to it.
That is the best way to avoid the symptoms of pigweed allergy as there is no standard treatment yet for pigweed allergy. So, staying away from pigweed is your best shot at avoiding the symptoms of pigweed allergy.
Treatment of Pigweed Allergy
As mentioned earlier, there is no permanent cure for pigweed allergy.
To avoid the symptoms of pigweed allergy then it is important you avoid contact with pigweed by so doing your body would not react to pigweed allergens.
Just in case you mistakenly come in contact with pigweed and your body begins to react to it, then to alleviate the symptoms your doctor will have to administer antihistamine to help relieve the symptoms.
The Antihistamine will help counter or minimize the production of histamine in the body triggered by allergens.
It is histamine that causes the reactions that further elicit the symptoms of pigweed allergy.
In conclusion, there is no permanent cure for pigweed allergy.
The best approach is to avoid coming in contact with pigweed, that way there will be no reactions and hence no symptoms.
I hope you have learned a lot from this article on the things to look out for especially if you are allergic to pigweed, you have understood the causes, symptoms, and treatment of pigweed allergy? If you learned anything from this article then please like, comment and share