Desi Dilemma : Allergies

Desi Dilemma : Allergies

In the vibrant, bustling households of South Asian families, filled with rich aromas and a myriad of flavours, there’s an invisible adversary that often goes unnoticed. From sneezes and sniffles to more severe reactions, allergy can disrupt the harmony of daily life. Let’s dive deep into understanding why allergies are particularly perplexing in Desi households and how we can combat them.

What are Allergies?

Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance—such as pollen, bee venom, pet dander, or certain foods—that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people. The immune system produces substances known as antibodies. If you have any allergy, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t. This reaction leads to inflammation and a variety of symptoms.

Desi Household and Allergy

Desi Dilemma : Allergies

Culinary Culprits

The diverse and flavourful ingredients in South Asian cuisine can sometimes be allergy triggers.

Peanuts and tree nuts

Integral to many dishes, but potent allergens.


Ghee, paneer, and milk-based sweets are dietary staples but can trigger reactions.


Certain spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander can sometimes cause allergy.

Environmental Factors

Pollen, Dust, and Molds

South Asian homes are often open and airy, inviting natural elements indoors. This, coupled with the region’s warm and humid climate, can lead to:


From lush gardens and neighbourhood greenery.

Dust mites

Accumulating in fabrics, carpets, and upholstery.


Thriving in humid environments, often hidden in corners and bathrooms.

How Allergy Can Affect A Person

Allergies can affect various parts of the body.

Respiratory Issues

Sneezing, coughing, runny or blocked nose, and shortness of breath.

Skin Reactions

Hives, rashes, itching, and eczema.

Digestive Problems

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Severe Reactions

Anaphylaxis—a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention.

Understanding the Allergy Maze


Allergies often run in families. If both parents have allergies, there’s a higher chance their children will too.

Environmental Exposure

Constant exposure to potential allergens in the environment can increase the likelihood of developing allergies. In Desi households, where cooking with diverse ingredients is a daily affair, the risk is heightened.

Immune System Response

A hyperactive immune system might overreact to harmless substances, treating them as threats and triggering allergy symptoms.

Tackling Allergies

Identify and Avoid Triggers

Keeping a diary of food and environmental factors can help pinpoint specific allergens. Allergy testing through a healthcare provider can also provide clarity.

Environmental Control

Clean Regularly

Reduce dust and mold by cleaning carpets, curtains, and other fabrics frequently.


Ensure proper ventilation to reduce humidity and mold growth.

Air Purifiers

Invest in good-quality air purifiers to keep indoor air clean.

Dietary Adjustments

For food allergies, the key is avoidance. Read labels carefully and be aware of cross-contamination, especially in shared kitchen spaces.

Medical Management

Over-the-counter antihistamines can manage mild symptoms, but it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider for severe allergies. They might prescribe stronger medications or suggest immunotherapy.

Embracing an Allergy-Safe Lifestyle

Living with allergies in a Desi household requires a blend of traditional wisdom and modern science. By being vigilant and proactive, you can enjoy the rich tapestry of South Asian life without letting allergies dampen your spirits. Remember, knowledge is your best ally in this battle. Stay informed, stay prepared, and let the vibrant hues of your heritage continue to shine brightly.

Allergies might be a persistent part of life for many in South Asian households, but they don’t have to control it. With a mix of awareness, preventive measures, and effective treatment, you can navigate the desi dilemma of allergies with confidence and ease. Embrace the journey with an informed mind and a resilient spirit, ensuring that your health and happiness remain unshaken.

Written by Team Neemopani


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