Allergies – An In-Depth Study Allergies are one of the most common ailments that many people experience today. It is often mild, something that you can easily treat and prevent most especially when you are already aware of what ticks your immune system.
However, there are also cases that these allergies can go to the next level, which can be dangerous to anyone, especially when it already concerns internal allergies wherein breathing will start to become difficult.
If not immediately addressed, the person may altogether suffocate due to swollen airflow caused by allergy leading to terminal results. To avoid this nasty situation, it is highly recommended that you do everything that you can to educate yourself about allergies by truly understanding the causes, symptoms, and the like.
Definition An allergy happens when your body’s immune system starts to act up on one or more substances or allergens such as insect bites, pollen, dust, etc. from which are normally considered as not harmful to other people.
You see, your immune system has a lot of antibodies that vehemently fight all sorts of things that can make the body sick or can cause dangerous infections. These things or “invaders” will automatically threat the antibodies from which in turn will protect you from diseases and such.
A person with an allergy has antibodies that find the allergens or the things that you are allergic to a threat even when they are not. As a result, a different reaction will be induced from the body’s system that mostly consists of swollen nasal and airflow passages, skin inflammation, rashes, and digestive disorders.
The gravity of the allergic reactions varies from each person. It can range from having a series of minor itchy rashes to extremely grave ones such as life-threatening situations due to blocked airways making it difficult for the patient to breathe.
Terminology The term allergy came from two Greek words ἄλλος or allos, which means “other” and ἔργον or ergon, which means “work.” Dr. Clemens Von Pirquet, a renowned pediatrician, first introduced this back in 1906. After treating some of his young patients, he made an observation that will change the medical history forever.
He noted that a number of his patients seem to have some kind of reaction to certain foods and other substances which are usually harmless to most people. These individuals are more sensitive when exposed to these things, causing negative effects to the body.
After extensive study and further research, it was also later discovered that some of these reactions are provoked by an underlying illness that is much graver, thus making it a symptom of some sort.
However, it was in the year 1960 when a groundbreaking discovery occurred. An antibody, which is now known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) has been found to cause these reactions, thus making it easier for doctors and scientists to really understand the true mechanism behind such sensitivity.
Today, Tons of varieties have been aptly classified to further distinguish the different types of allergies, the causes, symptoms, and the severity. The Causes Allergies have a lot of different causes and it is crucial that you are aware of it all so you can further understand what triggers these reactions.
These causes consist of allergens that provoke the allergy. These are: Molds Dusts Mites Animal dander Food such as peanuts, milk, eggs, and shellfish Certain drugs such as penicillin Metal such as nickel and steel Latex or rubber such as gloves Insect bites Pollens Cigarette smoke Other environmental factors such as the weather Who’s at Risk? Some people are more prone to allergies while some people don’t.
The individuals that are susceptible to this malady are: Children (particularly the ones who didn’t go through breastfeeding) Family history of allergies Asthmatic Lack of certain proteins in the body Has an illness that makes an allergy a symptom Types of Allergies, Its Symptoms, and Prevention It is crucial that you know the different kinds of allergies so you can quickly determine which one you have.
Each allergy has its own distinct factor that makes it different from each other and knowing what type is extremely vital into treating it. Read on to learn more about these types, which are all classified based on the kind of allergic reaction present in the body.
Conjunctivitis due to allergy Also known as allergic conjunctivitis, this is characterized as an inflammation or swelling of the eyelid or conjunctiva because the person has been exposed to allergens or things that he is allergic to.
This can occur when you have a family history of allergies. Symptoms If you think you have this kind of allergy, then you might want to observe yourself whenever you have an unfortunate contact with substances that your body is sensitive with.
Symptoms include red eyes, burning sensation on the eyes, extreme itchiness, watery eyes, puffy eyelids particularly every morning, excessive eye discharge, and swollen eyelids. Prevention The best way to avoid this unfortunate allergy is to determine the substance/s from which you are allergic to so you can consciously avoid it at all times.
Allergic reaction due to mold, pet dander, and dust This is one of the most common causes of allergies and is mostly experienced by children who have asthma and have hypersensitive immune system.
This can be very difficult to overcome especially when these causes are present everywhere. Symptoms Signs of this allergy include difficulty in breathing, coughing, incessant sneezing, rashes, itchy skin, nose, eyes, and throat, red eyes, runny nose, watery eyes, wheezing (can also provoke an asthma attack), and sinus problems.
Prevention If you are an expectant mother and you want to make sure that your baby will not be sensitive to these things, then it is very important that you breastfeed your child as soon as he’s born. Breastfeeding has a lot of properties that can strengthen the immune system, thus altogether avoiding the allergic problem.
For those who already have this predicament, there are several effective ways that you can do to keep yourself from having an allergic reaction. Mold: If you are allergic to molds, make sure you always keep your room dry and clean. Clean and disinfect bathrooms and basements, particularly the walls and the tiles.
Always use synthetic fabrics. Get rid of all moldy things such as old clothes and books. Investing on a humidifier can greatly help you prevent mold from growing inside the house.
Dust: If you are allergic to dust, you might want to wrap all your stored things in an airtight container to avoid mites and dust build-ups. Keep the air inside dry and clean by always wiping your furniture in a regular manner.
Wash, dry, and change your bed sheets and pillowcases twice a week and remove all stuffed toys from the bed. Always maintain your cabinets and closets organized and clean. Use fabric curtains instead of blinds. Pets. Pets, most especially cats and dogs, infuse some factors that can cause allergic reactions to some people.
It is advisable that you simply avoid these animals to prevent your allergies from acting up. Allergic Rhinitis Also known as nasal allergies, this is a type of allergy that involves symptoms that lie around the areas of nose and eyes, which can instantly occur as soon as you have inhaled an allergen whenever you are outside.
These allergens include pollens found in plants and flowers, trees, grasses, and weed. Environmental changes can also trigger this allergy most especially on a hot and windy day.
Symptoms If you have been exposed to these microscopic allergens, you may feel the following symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, difficulty when it comes to smelling, watery eyes, and itchy nose, eyes, throat, and mouth. Sore throat, stuffy nose, coughing, clogged ears, dark under eye circles, headache, fatigue, swollen eyes, and impaired thinking may develop when this allergy is not addressed immediately.
Prevention It is crucial that you are extra careful during summer and spring when pollens are everywhere outside. To avoid it, stay indoors, in an air-conditioned room, as often as possible.
Contact dermatitis due to allergy Also known as allergic dermatitis, this is an allergy that causes the skin to become red, sore, and swollen whenever it is exposed and in direct contact with an allergen.
These allergens include adhesives, nail polish, hair dyes, metal, fragrances found in shampoos, soaps, and the like, certain fabrics, and rubber gloves. Symptoms Signs can be very apparent and it can happen immediately after contact.
These include red bumps on the skin, itchy rashes, redness, scaly and dry skin, bumps with ooze or pus that can be drained and can be very painful too. Prevention It is crucial that you quickly treat this concern before bacterial infections happen.
Preventing it can be simple. All you need to do is just don’t let yourself be exposed to these allergens that can cause this skin discomfort. It is also advisable that you consult your doctor as well. Allergic to drugs Drug allergies consist of collective symptoms that are caused by an allergic reaction to certain medications.
This is rather common however, it is still essential that you know the exact kind of drug that you are allergic with so you can immediately ensure not to drink this medication any longer. Reactions vary from having mild effects to experiencing a grievous reaction that can cause anaphylactic shock to the body, thus leading to death.
Symptoms If you recently took a pill or some kind of medication that you are allergic to, you might feel the following signs for mild allergic reactions—rashes, itchy skin, red skin, swollen eyes, lips, or tongue, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and watery eyes.
If you are about to have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock or anaphylaxis), you will feel and experience abdominal cramps, dizziness, fainting, vertigo, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, heart palpitations, erratic pulse, and nausea.
Make sure you immediately go to the doctor when this happens. Prevention Unfortunately, there is really no known ways to actually prevent this allergic reaction. The best thing that you can do is to always bring antihistamine pills with you in case you have found yourself in this situation.
It is also advisable that you determine the kind of drugs that you are allergic to so you can avoid drinking it. Allergic to certain foods Also known as food allergy, this is an allergic response whenever you have eaten or drank certain foods that contain peanuts, sea food, shell fish (crabs, shrimps, lobsters), soy, wheat, milk, eggs, and other products that you are allergic with.
This usually begins during childhood and can be outgrown when the child starts to mature. However, allergic reactions to peanuts and shellfish usually last for a long time and have to be endured all throughout adulthood. Symptoms Signs will begin after two hours of eating the said allergen. You will feel abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, swollen tongue, diarrhea, runny and stuffy nose, watery eyes, headache, vomiting, nausea, itch skin, scaly skin, rashes, hives, stomachaches, difficulty in breathing, and vertigo.
Swollen and itchy mouth, ears, throat, eyes, and nose can also be experienced. Prevention Breastfeeding can help avoid this problem. For those with existing chronic food allergies, it is best that you know the kind of foods that you are allergic with so you can avoid eating it all the time.
Treatment There are several known treatments that can easily relieve you from your allergies. The first treatment is to determine the allergen and avoid it. You can also take some medications such as antihistamines to significantly reduce the effect of the allergic reaction to the body.
For severe, life-threatening emergencies, your physician may provide you an epinephrine shot from which you are required to inject yourself with it before you go to an anaphylactic shock. Alternative Remedy You can opt for other solutions that you can quickly make at the comforts of your own home. These home remedies can also provide instant relief for mild forms of allergies.
You can drink a tablespoon of honey or sugar to help prevent your body from fully reacting from the allergen. Butterbur and stinging nettle are also great when it comes to improving your allergic symptoms. However, a doctor must treat severe cases immediately.