Allergies come in various forms and degrees of severity, which sometimes cause physical manifestations. But what are they really and how can someone treat them before they affect his other body functions?
An allergy is a body’s reaction to a particular substance or allergen. Such particles and substances may not be harmful to some, but they do cause effects to certain individuals.
When this substance enters the body or comes in contact with the skin, a chemical found in the body called histamine reacts, considers it as a threat, and alerts other parts of the body to do everything within its power to get rid of the substance.
Unfortunately, when an allergic reaction begins it is very difficult to stop, even though the substance has already been expelled.
Allergic reactions range from simple like itching, redness of the skin, and sneezing, to serious such as narrowing of the airway, and vomiting. That is why allergies should not be taken for granted.
It is a good idea to have allergy screening and tests to identify whether you are allergic to a particular food or substance or not. When a person has the genetic tendency to develop an allergy, it is a condition called atopy.
Different Types of Allergies
Sneezing and itchiness are allergies, but there are others that are more serious, depending on the histamine reaction of a person’s body. Here are some of the most common types of allergies:
- Food – People may sometimes suffer from an allergy attack because of food intake. There are those who are allergic to seafood, forms of nuts, eggs, and dairy products, and even wheat.
- Drug – It is standard procedure for hospitals to ask patients of any known drug allergies before administering them. This is to avoid allergy triggers, which are often unrelated to the actual illness being treated.
- Seasonal – Some allergies are caused by the weather or seasons from hot to cold, or cold to hot. Meanwhile, there are also seasonal allergies caused by other factors such as pollen, grass, and molds.
- Insects – Insect bites are also a common cause of allergies. People who encounter and are bitten by mosquitoes, bedbugs, and certain flies often suffer from redness, swelling and itching of the bitten area.
- Skin allergies – These are caused when the person comes in contact with specific substances such as plant leaves, metals, and even sunlight.
Allergens come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes even the simplest of substances can lead to the most serious allergic reactions. Here are some allergens that cause reactions to the body. If you have allergies in any of these allergens, it is best to avoid them.
- Pollen – this is the powder-like substance produced by plants needed for pollination. When these are carried away by the wind and enters the nose, it may cause an allergic reaction.
- Dust Mites – these are extremely tiny insects that feed upon dead human skin and their waste may become an allergen to people.
- Mold – these often come in dust-like forms and thrive in damp and closed spaces. When inhaled, these may cause allergic reactions as well.
- Animal Dander – these are tiny flakes from an animal’s skin, which come with their fur when they shed.
- Certain Foods – people who are allergic to certain food should always be aware of what they eat because some allergic reactions lead to health complications.
Usual Symptoms of Allergies
You will know that you have encountered an allergen because allergy attacks are sudden and unannounced. Here are the most common allergic reactions:
- Runny Nose – this is when a thin clear fluid, or thick mucus continues to run out of the nose due to an allergic reaction.
- Sneezing – occurs when a foreign particle such as pollen or dander enters the nose and then gets expelled in a violent reaction.
- Itching – often triggered by a bodily chemical called histamine, responsible for triggering immune responses in the form of allergies.
- Hives – these appear as raised, itchy rashes caused by an allergic reaction, and go away after several weeks.
- Anaphylaxis – one of the more serious allergic reactions caused by food or any contact with substances, leading to nausea, vomiting, and narrowing of the airways.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergies
As the proverb says “prevention is better than cure” and that rings very true when it comes to allergies. The key to prevention is to know beforehand which substances you are allergic to. Below are some ways to determine your allergies:
In order to be aware of any skin allergies, a person should undergo skin tests often just so he can avoid such substances. Skin testing is done at the hospital or a clinic, where a nurse would administer the test, and the doctor would then interpret the results.
Skin tests usually take between 20 to 40 minutes, although there are tests that show reactions immediately.
Allergen-Specific Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a test that measures specific levels of antibodies, which relates to how that particular person reacts to a single allergen.
Separate tests are done for each allergen and results may be known for 20 to 40 minutes to a few days, depending on the allergen tested, and method used.
Depending on the results of the allergy tests, doctors would give patients several medications to manage their allergic reactions. These are called anti-histamines because they block the effects of the histamine substance in the body, preventing physical manifestations.
These may be taken orally, through allergy shots, ointments, and others. Because these medications can be dangerous if taken in excess amounts, it is necessary to secure prescriptions first from a doctor.
Quick Tips in Managing Allergies and Eczema
If you are suffering from a recurring allergic reaction, or eczema, there are few ways to manage your symptoms. First is to keep the area moisturized to prevent itchiness.
If the area still itches, then it would be best to apply an anti-itch cream. Make sure you avoid food and substance irritants and maintain a proper daily hygiene. Homeopathy for eczema are also believed to be alternative solutions, so you may also look in those options.
If an allergic reaction occurs too frequently, affects your daily functions, or leads to more health problems, it is best to ask medical advice. Most of the time, these simple problems become worse because of do-it-yourself treatments that do not work.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn