Allergies are very common and increase in numbers each year. There are many different causes of allergy and the symptoms range from mild to potentially life threatening. This is also one of the most important factors associated with asthma cause and endurance. Effective prevention and treatment options are available for most allergies
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Allergy occurs when a person’s immune system responds to substances in the environment that are harmless to most people. These substances are known as allergens and are found in dust mites, pets, pollen, insects, ticks, mildew, food and some medicines.
Atopy is the genetic (hereditary) tendency to develop allergic diseases. People with atopy are said to be atopic.
When atopic people are exposed to allergens, they can develop an immune response that causes allergic inflammation (redness and swelling).
This may cause symptoms in:
- Nose and / or eyes – hay fever (allergic rhinitis / conjunctivitis)
- Skin eczema, hives (urticaria)
- The lungs – asthma
A substance that is an allergen for one person can not be for another – everyone reacts differently. The probability (or risk) of developing this condition increases if other family members suffer from allergy or asthma.
What happens when you get an allergic reaction?
When a person who is responding to a particular allergen comes into contact with the trigger, an allergic reaction occurs. This begins when the allergen (such as pollen) enters the body, triggering an antibody response. The antibodies are attached to special cells, called mast cells. When pollen comes into contact with the antibodies, the mast cells react by releasing certain substances, one of which is called histamine. When the release of histamine is due to an allergen, the resulting swelling and inflammation can be extremely annoying and unpleasant. They are particularly common in children. Some may disappear when a child grows older, although many will continue to have this condition as adults. While adults can still develop allergies to things they did not previously respond to.
Allergic reactions usually occur within minutes of exposure to an allergen.
They can cause:
- Runny or blocked nose
- Red, itchy, runny eyes
- Wheezing and coughing
- Redness and itchy rash
- Exacerbation of asthma or eczema symptoms
Most reactions are mild, but sometimes a serious reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock may occur. This is a medical emergency and requires emergency treatment.
Similar reactions may occur for some chemicals and additives, but if they do not involve the immune system, they are known as “side effects” instead of “allergies”.
Overview of different allergies
Things that people are allergic to include:
- Dust mites
- Pollen (grass, weed or wood)
- Foods like peanuts, milk, soy, seafood and eggs
- Cats and other fur or hairy animals like dogs, horses, rabbits and guinea pigs
- Insect bites and bites
- Mold-these can free up small particles in the air that you can breathe in
- Medication – including ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
- Latex – Used to make some gloves and condoms
- Household chemicals – including those in detergents and hair dyes
Allergy tends to be more common in children compared with adults, with asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema and food allergy that include a significant portion of the workload that doctors need to deal with in primary care and hospital pediatric departments. It is reported that worldwide, approximately 1 in 8 children have asthma, 1 in 13 have eczema and 1 in 8 have allergic rhinitis.
Asthma is a common, long-term or chronic illness. Individuals with asthma have very sensitive airways that get inflamed and tightened when they breathe in triggers. This can cause tightness in the chest and wheezing and make it harder to breathe.
Most people with asthma who get the right treatment – and take it right – can control their symptoms and lead normal lives.
Your respiratory tract carries air in and out of the lungs. If you have asthma, you can be very sensitive to different triggers. Some things trigger the muscles around the airways to tighten, making the airways narrower. The airways is also inflamed that causes the build up of sputum. This makes the airways even narrower. With narrow airways it is more difficult to get air in and out of the lungs.
Asthma often occurs in families, and people with this condition – especially those under the age of 16 – are at higher risk.
There are different types of asthma. Asthma associated with allergy usually starts in children. However, some people develop asthma as adults, and this is often not associated with triggers.
Some people can develop asthma by breathing in individual substances several times, especially when they are at work, for example when they are paint spraying, baking and welding.
Symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing – make a noise like a whistle when you exhale
- Density in the chest
Sometimes the respiratory tract can only thaw to a little, resulting in mild symptoms. However, some people’s respiratory tract can become so narrow that they can not get enough oxygen in the lungs and bloodstream. This is very dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.
The body’s immune system keeps you healthy by combating infections and other dangers for good health. A food allergy reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to food or a substance in the food you eat, and then identifies it as a hazard and triggers a protective response.
While this tends to occur in families, it is impossible to predict whether a child will inherit parent’s food allergy (something pregnant women are often worried about), or if the sibling will have a similar condition. Some studies indicate that the younger siblings of a peanut allergy child will also respond to peanuts.
Symptoms of food allergy may vary from mild to severe. Just because a first reaction causes few problems does not mean that all reactions will be alike; A food that triggered only mild symptoms on one occasion can cause more severe symptoms a second time.
The most serious reactions are anaphylaxis – a life-threatening reaction throughout the body that can weaken the breath, cause a dramatic drop in blood pressure and affect the heart rate. Anaphylaxis may occur within minutes after exposure to the trigger. It can be fatal and must be treated quickly with an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline).
While some food can cause a side effect, eight types of food represent about 90 percent of all the reactions:
- Tree nuts
Symptoms of a reaction may include skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system and respiratory tract. They can surface in one or more of the following ways:
- Cramps and / or stomach cramps
- Shortness of breath
- Repeated cough
- Shock or circulatory failure
- Tight, hoarse throat; difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of the tongue, affects the ability to speak or breathe
- Weak pulse
- Ink or blue dyeing of the skin
- Dizziness or feeling dizzy
- Anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction that can weaken the breath and send the body to shock; reactions can also affect different parts of the body (for example a stomach ache accompanied by rashes)
Allergies that give rashes
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, affects between 10 and 20 percent of children and 1 to 3 percent of adults. A common symptom of eczema is dry, red, irritated and itchy skin. Sometimes, especially when it is infected, the skin may have a small liquid-proof shock that oozes a clear or yellowish liquid. People with eczema often have a family history of allergies.
Hives (urticaria) are red shocks or “buds” that appear on the body. The condition is called acute urticaria if it lasts no more than six weeks, and chronic urticaria if it lasts for six weeks. Acute urticaria is most often caused by exposure to an allergen or infection. The cause of chronic urticaria is largely unknown.
Contact dermatitis is a reaction that occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or allergen. Symptoms may include rashes, blisters, itching and burning.
Soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, shampoos – or even excessive exposure to water – can all cause contact dermatitis. Other objects that can cause reactions are metals (such as nickel, a component of stainless steel and other alloys used to make costume jewelry), glue, nail polish, current medication, plants and latex gloves.
Sometimes an allergen will not cause skin reactions unless skin is also exposed to sunlight. This condition is called photoallergic contact dermatitis. It may occur with products like shaving, sunscreen and perfumes.
Allergic rhinitis is commonly known as hay fever. But you do not have to be exposed to high to get symptoms. And contrary to what the name suggests, you do not have to have fever to have high praise.
Rhinite takes two different forms:
Seasons: Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis may occur in spring, summer and early autumn. They are usually caused by sensitivity to airborne mildew or pollen from grass, trees and weeds.
Perennials: Persons with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms all year round. It is usually caused by dust mites, animal hair or dander, insects or mold. Underlying or hidden food allergies rarely cause perennial symptoms.
Some people may experience both types of rhinitis, with perennial symptoms getting worse during certain pollensons. There are also non-allergic causes of rhinitis, including irritations like cigarette or other smoke, perfumes, cleaners and other strong odors.
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes, mouth or skin
- Damage due to blockage or overload
- Fatigue (often reported due to poor sleep quality due to nasal obstruction)
- Outdoor allergens, such as pollen from grass, trees and weeds
- Indoor allergens, such as animal hair or dander, dust mites and mold
- Irritating substances, such as cigarette smoke, perfume and diesel exhaust
Hayfever treatment-what you can do yourself
- Avoid triggers by making changes to your home and your behavior.
- Keep the windows closed during pollen periods; Use air conditioning in the home and car.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses when you’re out to keep the pollen out of sight.
- Use bedding protection (blankets) to limit exposure to dust mites and a dehumidifier to control mildew. (If you
- smell mold, you probably have mold).
- Wash your hands after clapping an animal.
The treatment of an allergy depends on what you are responding to. In many cases your doctor may offer advice and treatment. They will advise you to take measures to avoid exposure to the substance you are reacting to and recommend medication to control your symptoms.
If your allergies are severe enough to interfere with your quality of life, it is important to see a doctor to identify what you are allergic to and to access the full range of prescription options.
Medicines for mild allergies are available from a pharmacy without a prescription, but always ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice before starting new medicine as they do not suit everyone.
Testing for allergies
If you think you have allergies, tell your doctor about the symptoms you have, when they occur, how often they occur, and if something seems to trigger them.
Your doctor can advise and treat mild symptoms with a clear cause.
If it is more serious or it is not clear what you are responding to, you may be referred to allergy testing at a specialist allergy clinic.
Skin testing is one of the most common allergy tests.
It involves putting a drop of liquid on the forearm containing a substance that you may be allergic to. The skin below the drop is then gently primed with a needle. If you are allergic to the substance, a itchy red blister will occur within 15 minutes.
Skin test is painless and very safe. Make sure you do not take antihistamines before the test as they may interfere with the results.
Blood tests can be used instead of, or next to, skin prick tests to diagnose common allergies.
A sample of your blood is removed and analyzed for specific antibodies produced by the immune system in response to an allergen.
Patch tests are used to investigate a type of eczema known as contact dermatitis, which may be due to your skin being exposed to an allergen.
A small amount of the suspected allergen is added to special metal discs, which are then glued to your skin for 48 hours and monitored for a reaction.
Elimination of diet
If you have a suspected food allergy, you may be advised to avoid eating a particular food to see if your symptoms are getting better.
After a few weeks you may be asked to eat the food again to check if you have another reaction.
Do not try to do this yourself without discussing it with a qualified healthcare professional.
In some cases, a test called food challenge can also be used to diagnose food allergy.
During the test you get the food you think you are allergic to in increasing amounts, to see how you react under close supervision.
This test is more risky than other types of testing, as it can lead to a serious reaction, but is the most accurate way to diagnose food allergy. And challenge testing is always performed at a clinic where a serious reaction can be treated if it develops.
Allergy test kit
Use of commercial test sets is not recommended. These tests are often of a lower standard than those offered by accredited private clinics and are generally considered to be unreliable.
The tests should be interpreted by a qualified professional who has detailed knowledge of your symptoms and medical history.
Medicines against allergies
Generally, there is no cure for allergies, but there are several types of medicines available – both over-the-counter and prescription-to help ease and treat irritating symptoms such as dense and runny nose. These medicines include as usual antihistamines, decongestants, combination agents, corticosteroids and others. Some of the most widely used medicines in the UK are Avamys and Aerius, who treat allergies like hay fever quickly and efficiently.
On the other hand, we always recommend that you seek out and consult with a medical professional before attempting a potential treatment for allergy. It is important to test the allergy you should treat. Today, there is a wide range of online medicines, we advise to shop online without any form of consultation before purchase. One possibility may be an online consultation.