Allergies – short description

What is an allergy?

Allergies are usually suffered by people with a weak immune system that reacts to common harmless substances in the environment. They are known as allergen ( pollen, mold, animal dander etc.).

What happens during an allergic reaction?

One can be exposed to allergens in different ways : inhaling, swallowing, or getting it on or under their skin. After a person has been exposed, a series of events create the allergic reactions:

− the body will start producing a specific type of allergen called IgE, to bind the allergen

−then, the antibodies attach to a form of blood cell called a mast cell which can be found in the airways, the intestines, and elsewhere thus making them more susceptible to allergen

−in the last stage, the allergens bind to the IgE, which is attached to the mast cell causing it to release a variety of chemicals ( histamine ­ causes most of the symptoms of an allergic reaction.) into the blood.

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

Common symptoms of an allergic reaction to inhaled or skin allergens include itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, itchy and runny nose, rashes, feeling tired or ill, hives (a rash with raised red patches).

Other causes for an allergic reaction: food allergies, insect stings

Does everyone have allergies?

Not everyone has allergies. If both parents have allergies their child risks having 75% chances to inherit them, and 50% probability with only one parent having vulnerabilities.

Allergy triggers

Most common include pollen, dust mites, mold, animal dander, insect stings, latex, and certain food and medications. If you have an allergy, symptoms vary from mild eye irritation to severe swelling and breathing difficulties.

How to ” read ” symptoms

There are three major groups of allergy: mild, moderate, or severe.

Mild allergy symptoms ­ do not spread to other parts of the body, they include the following:

− rash

− itchy, watery eyes

− congestion

Moderate allergy symptoms ­ include symptoms that spread to other parts of the body:

− Itchiness

− Difficulty breathing

Severe allergy symptoms ( Anaphylaxis) ­ may begin with sudden itching of the eyes or face and within minutes progress to more serious symptoms, including:

− swellings that can make breathing and swallowing difficult

− Abdominal pain

− Cramps

− Vomiting

− Diarrhea

− Mental confusion or dizziness

Doctor’s examination

The most important part of diagnosing allergies is carefully evaluating symptoms. In adition to asking questions, your doctor will allso perform a complete physical examination ( skin, eyes, nose, ears, and throat ­ inflammation (redness or swelling), drainage, or other signs of allergy symptoms). The patient must also ask what is the cause for his/ her allergy, the available medication and treatments, what activities should they avoid doing and, most of all, make an appointment whenever necessary!

Allergy medications

There is no cure for allergies, but there are plenty of solutions that help ease annoying symptoms like congestion or runny nose. One can find them in different forms: pills, liquid, nasal spray, or eye drops.

Allergy shots are available too! Still, you might want to see your doctor before buying a treatment!

Living & Managing

Should there be something bothering you, simply avoid it! Keep a close eye on those allergy triggers and it will make it easier on you. Knowing the the cause of your problems helps avoiding serious situations.

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