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Allergies – an inflated reaction of the immune system

Updated on September 11, 2016

Allergies can develop at any age. It involves an inflated reaction of the immune system. Both genes and environment play vital role in the development of allergy. Clemens von Pirquet first used the word ‘allergy’ in 1906.

People who have a tendency to allergies are called allergic or ‘atopic’. About 10 to 30% people in the world are affected by allergic conditions and this number is increasing day by day.

Allergy producing substances are known as ‘allergens’. Allergens are unknown to the body and they cause allergic reaction. Allergens include dust, pollens, foods, animal proteins, mould and medications.

The most common allergic diseases are allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, allergic asthma and food allergies.

Allergic rhinitis:

Allergic rhinitis is also known as nasal allergies. It is commonly known as hay fever. Sneezing, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, sore and watery eyes are the common symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Some symptoms like coughing, clogged ears and decreased sense of smell, dark circles under the eyes, puffiness under the eyes, headache, fatigue and irritability may develop later. Dust, pollen, grass, cat saliva, mold and animal dander are the causes of allergic rhinitis.

Doctors may prescribe medicines as per symptoms of allergic rhinitis. They also consider the age and other medical conditions of the patient. Antihistamines including Xyzal, Allegra, Claritin, Clarinex and Zyrtec can be used for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Nasal corticosteroid sprays are also used for the medication of allergic rhinitis. Nasal spray decongestants may also be used for reducing nasal stuffiness but not for more than 3 days.

Allergic rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis

Allergic conjunctivitis:

Allergic conjunctivitis is an eye inflammation and does not affect vision. Red, itchy, watery, and burning eyes are the common symptoms of this disease. Household dust, pollen from flowers and grass, mould spores, animal dander, perfume are the common causes of allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis are of two types – acute allergic conjunctivitis and chronic allergic conjunctivitis. Acute allergic conjunctivitis occurs for a short period of time and chronic allergic conjunctivitis can occur year round.

Oral antihistamine, antihistamine eye drops, steroid eye drops, mast cell stabilizer eye drops, combination anti-allergy drops, antihistamine tablets, steroid injections and steroid tablets can be used for the medication of allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic asthma:

Allergic asthma is also known as allergy-induced asthma. Coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, rapid breathing and shortness of breath are the common symptoms of allergic asthma. Usually inhaled allergens like tobacco smoke, air pollution, pollen, dust mites, and perfumes cause allergic asthma. Fish, milk, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, wheat, and cockroaches can also cause allergic asthma.

The two most common methods doctors can test the patient of allergic asthma are IgE or slgE blood test and piercing patient’s skin with a tiny amount of the allergen and measuring the size of the red bumps 20 minutes later. Sometimes doctors advise to use asthma inhaler for the medication of allergic asthma. Saline rinses and decongestant nasal sprays can be used for few days. For severe allergic asthma doctors prescribe nasal steroid sprays and stronger antihistamines.

Food allergies:

Food allergies are dangerous and life threatening. Cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, fish, wheat, soy, tree nuts, shell fish are responsible for 90% of food allergies. Sneezing, rash, swelling, stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes are the mild symptoms of food allergy. Dizziness or faintness, difficulty in breathing including wheezing, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, hives, nausea or vomiting are the severe symptoms of food allergy.

Most food allergy symptoms arise within minutes or two hours of ingestion. Sometimes it may be delayed by four to six hours or even longer. Delayed reactions develop eczema as a symptom of food allergy and usually it is seen in children.

Food allergies can be avoided by avoiding allergic foods.

Food allergies
Food allergies

This article may be helpful for the people who have been suffering from allergies. I hope the readers of this article will be benefited by reading this article and they will share it to their friends and family members so that they can lead a allergy free life.


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