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What Exactly are Allergies?

Updated on January 6, 2015

An allergy is not a disease but an exaggeration of the body’s natural immune defense system. Even a mild allergy can be highly disturbing but when it becomes aggravated the allergy can take a serious turn and become deadly. Allergies vary in the types of symptoms that they cause such as:

  • Whether the allergy is in one spot or is triggered throughout the body.
  • It depends on the allergen that provokes the symptom such as a pet, mold, food, or climate.
  • The part of the body affected by the allergy such as the skin or nose or airway.Though each allergy is of a different nature, there are 3 basic rules related to allergies which are common in nature:

  1. Allergies always involve the immune system
  2. Prevention is as important as the treatment
  3. The reaction always occurs after exposure to an allergen though the timing may differ from immediate reaction to delayed reaction up to a day or two.

Types of Allergies

There are numerous types of allergies some of which are explained here.

Dust Allergy

This is a very common allergy found in Asian countries where a person is exposed to a lot of dust not just while traveling but also at home. Traces of dust can be found in fabric fibers, human skin particles, microscopic creatures, bacteria, mold spore, mites (dust mites), and others. An allergy can trigger off leading to coughing, shortness of breath, stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and in severe cases even asthma.

Food Allergy

The most common food allergies are wheat allergy, gluten energy, and allergy to nuts, eggs, milk (lactose intolerance), and more. Generally food allergies are higher in newborn babies and preschool children but can also be carried on in older children and as they turn into adults if not treated soon. The most common symptoms of food allergies include swelling and itching of the lips, throat or skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea while in severe cases it can lead to shortness of breath, dizziness, and can even become life threatening.

Latex Allergy

Latex is a natural form of rubber which constitutes a number of our daily household products like rubber gloves, balloons, rubber bands, diapers, etc. The protein present in rubber causes this allergic reaction such as watery eyes, runny nose, rashes, tightness in chest, and even shock. Sometimes it can be life threatening with no previous warning, though this is not very common.

Mold Allergy

This is a seasonal kind of allergy mainly occurring in the rainy season when the weather is moist and humid. Thousands of molds exist in different areas both indoors and outdoors and since mold spores are airborne they can float in and out of the house and form new colonies wherever they land. They are found in damp basements, bathrooms, refrigerator trays, air conditioners, humidifiers, mattresses, and wherever there is excess moisture. Mold can even grow on food items like fruits, cheese, mushrooms, salad dressings, sour cream, milk and more.

Knowing is Half the Battle

There is a lot to dwell into this subject as there are pet and skin allergies, preventions, and treatments. Once you are familiar with the type of allergy you have, you can prevent it and treat it on your own.


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