In medical terms, allergy is a hypersensitive response from the immune system to substances that come into contact with the body. Pollen, bee venom and/or pet dander are among these substances. The substances that cause an allergic reaction are called an allergen. Specialists say that everything can be an allergen if the immune system has a hyper reaction to it. You can find an allergen in drinks, food or in our environment.
A recent study shows that approximately 40 percent of children and 30 percent of adults in America are exposed to allergies. In the vast majority of cases, people facing any type of allergy seek the best specialists in the game just as you search for a foot doctor when you experience foot pain. Before diving more in-depth into the topic, we have prepared a quick list of facts about the allergy and they are as follows:
- An allergy is a result of the inappropriate response of the immune system to the normally harmless allergen
- The most common substances are pollen, nuts, and dust, which cause peeling skin, sneezing and vomiting
- A blood sample needs to be taken in order to diagnose the allergy
- Medications can be effective in managing the symptoms of an allergy. However, the problem itself needs desensitization
- A life-threatening allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis and it requires emergency treatment
The following sections of this article focus on depicting the key elements every person should know about allergies.
What is an allergy?
As was already mentioned, an allergy is the response of the immune system to an allergen that is normally harmless to the body. These allergens could be included in food, pet dander and/or pollen. Keeping you healthy by fighting harmful pathogens is the main job of our immune system. This is generally accomplished by fighting anything that can cause damage to your body. Some of the body’s responses include sneezing, inflammation and many more symptoms.
Our immune system is able to adapt to the environment. For instance, when our body gets exposed to pet dander, it will identify that it is not harmful. However, people with dander allergy perceive this substance as life-threatening and the body will typically attack it.
What are the causes of allergy?
Specialists have not come to the conclusion yet regarding the reasons for our immune system causing an allergy reaction when certain harmless foreign substances enter our bodies. Allergies contain genetic components meaning that they can be passed from parents to children. However, it is only a general susceptibility.
The most common allergens include:
- Pet dander, dust mite waste, and cockroaches
- Drugs like penicillin and sulfa drugs
- Nuts, milk, eggs, shellfish, and wheat
- Bees m mosquitos and wasps
- Weeds and trees, resin from plants and pollens from grass
What the symptoms of allergy?
The symptoms that a person might experience because of the allergy depend on a number of factors including the type of allergy and its severity. If a person has a food allergy, he/she might experience hives, swelling, and fatigue. Specialists say that it might take for a person to realize that he/she has a food allergy. However, doctors say that if your experience severe reaction after a meal you should seek immediate help.
People experiencing seasonal allergies might observe the symptoms including congestion, runny nose, and swollen eyes. In the vast majority of cases, these symptoms can be managed at home by over-the-counter medications.
As was mentioned previously, severe forms of allergy can cause anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening emergency leading to lightheadedness, loss of consciousness and breath difficulties. Every person might experience different symptoms and the allergic reaction might be also different.
What are the ways of treating allergies?
Searching for a specialist in the field of allergy is equally important as searching for a foot doctor when you have foot pain, for example. Doctors say that the best way to avoid allergies is to stay away from anything that triggers an allergic reaction. However, because of several reasons, it might be not possible, therefore, the proper treatment is required.
The first thing that specialists typically recommend is making use of medications such as antihistamines aimed to control the symptoms. Your doctor’s recommendations depend on the severity of the allergy. Some of these medications include:
- Cromolyn sodium
- Leukotriene modifiers
Another treatment option could be immunotherapy, which involves several injections over the treatment course. The duration of the course is typically a few years and it assists in helping the body to get used to the allergy. Successful immunotherapy is able to prevent allergy symptoms from coming back. The last but least treatment option is emergency epinephrine, which is normally used for life-threatening, severe allergies. The epinephrine shot counters allergic reactions until medical help arrives. You should keep in mind that some allergic responses are a medical emergency.
Some people also make use of natural remedies for allergies. There are a lot of natural supplements and remedies that are marketed as a treatment method for allergies or even a way to prevent them. However, some of these remedies can make your symptoms even worse as they might include other allergens.
For instance, some dried teas utilize plants and flowers that are closely linked to plants that might cause serious sneezing. The same works for essential oils. Oils are used by some people to relieve common symptoms of allergies but they might contain certain ingredients that can actually cause allergies. It should be also mentioned that each type of allergy has a host of natural remedies that might assist in speeding up the recovery process. Natural options for kid’s allergies exist as well.
Taking everything into consideration, it can be concluded that allergy can seriously interfere in your life and cause a lot of problems in case if your allergy is severe. In addition to that, you should not underestimate it. Most probably you search for a foot doctor or dental specialist when you have issues with your feet or teeth. An allergy is also a serious health condition, therefore, requiring proper treatment. This proper treatment can be prescribed by a professional in this field.