What is Allergy?
The allergic conditions or allergic diseases are mostly caused by hypersensitivity in the immune system to specific agents in the environment. Different types of allergic conditions include food allergy, skin allergy, anaphylaxis, allergic asthma. Each allergic condition is characterized by a set of symptoms that may include shortness of breath, runny nose, swelling.
Causes of Allergy
Some of the common causes of allergy conditions are allergens like pollen, certain types of food. Some type of metals to causes skin allergy or dermal diseases. Apart from these, insect bites, medications cause severe allergy conditions. There is some type of allergy conditions, developed because of environmental factors. Whenever an allergen attacks a human body, then antibodies, that are part of the body's immune system, binds to the allergen. These antibodies trigger the release of chemicals that causes body inflammation. Whenever a human body is attacked by an allergen then the diagnosis is key to proper treatment. With respect to various types of allergy conditions, diagnosis depends on a person's medical history. Skin testing, blood testing is a part of the diagnosis process.
Signs and Symptoms of Allergy
The allergens like dust or pollens are mostly airborne. The symptoms arise when individuals come in contact with air. Hay fever is a condition that causes irritation in the nose, excessive itching, redness of the eyes and sneezing. When allergens are inhaled then there is enhanced production of mucus in the lungs followed by coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. When allergy is caused by food, insect bites, reactions to medications like aspirins, antibiotics then the symptoms are different. The symptoms of food allergy incorporate pain in the abdomen, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, itchy and swelling in the skin. The insect stings, certain medicines, antibiotics can produce allergic reactions in the body where more than one body parts are affected. Sometimes the allergic reactions become severe, it can cause skin reactions, lowering of blood pressure, swelling or even death.
Tests to Diagnose Allergy
It is important to do tests on patients suffering from allergy, understand the signs, symptoms.
- Skin test for diagnosing allergy. Skin allergy conditions are caused because of proteins found in harmful allergens. Allergic persons are more likely to develop a raised bump or hive at the test location on their skin. Skin specialists, allergy specialists have the knowledge, expertise to perform as well as interpret skin allergy tests.
- Blood test to diagnose allergy. Blood tests that measure a person's immune system's response to a specific allergen need to be performed on patients suffering from allergy.
Treatment for Allergy
Allergy treatments incorporate the following:
- Avoiding allergens. The skin specialists help the patients to take positive steps to identify as well as avoid allergy triggers. This is a crucial step in ensuring allergic reactions do not happen at all and reduce their symptoms if they happen.
- Medications that reduce the allergy symptoms. On the basis of the type of allergy, allergy medications need to be prescribed. Such medications help to reduce immune system reaction and they ease the symptoms. The medications include oral medications, eye drops, nasal sprays.
- Immunotherapy. For severe allergic conditions, allergen immunotherapy may be the prescribed treatment. Such treatment includes a series of injections (purified allergen extracts). These injections are usually administered over a course of time.
- Immunotherapy which is noninvasive involves the use of the tablet that's placed under the tongue (sublingual) where it dissolves. These drugs are used to treat allergies because of pollen grains.
- Emergency epinephrine. Severe allergic conditions are often treated by administering an emergency epinephrine shot. The epinephrine shot helps in reducing symptoms until the patient gets emergency treatment.
Prevention of Allergy
Allergic conditions may be of different types and its prevention depends on the allergy type that the patient is suffering from. General measures include the following:
Avoid known triggers of allergy. For treating allergy, checking the symptoms and then treating them is important. It is advisable to avoid triggers. For individuals who are allergic to dust or pollens, staying inside with doors, windows closed during periods when pollen dust is high is the best thing. Washing bedding periodically is a good thing if one is allergic to dust, mites, vacuum.
Maintain records of eating habits. A person suffering from allergy needs to track his or her eating habits, whenever the symptoms occur. This is helpful as it enables the dermatologist to identify the triggers.
Wear a medical alert bracelet. An individual suffering from allergy needs to wear some type of medical bracelet, necklace and let others know that the person is suffering from an allergy condition.
Risk Factors for Allergy
Many individuals develop allergic conditions during their childhood years. As a matter of fact, allergy conditions can be developed at any point in time. Whether, nasal allergy conditions or any other allergy condition type, it is important for the individuals to identify the symptoms, diagnose the disease and find a cure.
The factors which increase the risk of developing allergy conditions include the following:
- Smoking cigarettes. Children who grow up in households where cigarette smoking is a habit have a greater risk of developing allergy.
- Births at a time when pollen seasons are high. Many experts are of the opinion that babies who are born during the high-pollen seasons are extra sensitive to hay fever allergens in their later life.
- Exposure to an allergen. Exposure to allergens like pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites, cockroaches, and some types of food items increase a person's risk of developing allergy.
- Bottle-fed baby is more prone to allergy conditions. Studies reveal that breastfeeding reduces the severity as well as the frequency of allergies in kids.
- Premature births. Premature babies have greater risks of developing allergy conditions in their later life.
- Kids with one or more parents having nasal allergies are more prone to allergy conditions.
Complications of Allergy
Allergic conditions give rise to complications and that include the following:
- Anaphylaxis. Severe allergies lead to serious allergy-induced reactions and anaphylaxis is one of them. It is commonly associated with penicillin allergy, food allergy, and allergy caused because of insect venom.
- Asthma is a complication of allergy. Many allergens trigger asthmatic conditions and that affects the individual's (allergic person) breathing process. Asthma is triggered due to exposure to allergens present in the environment. Such type of asthma is known as allergy-induced asthma.
- Sinusitis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), and ear infections. Such complications are caused because of hay fever, mold allergy, pet allergy.
- Fungal complications of sinuses allergic fungal sinusitis can occur if an individual is allergic to mold.
Prognosis/Outlook for Allergy
Allergies are of different types and the outlook or prognosis depends on many factors. The food allergies, in particular, can be managed, successfully. In most instances, it is observed that kids suffer from milk allergy, egg allergy, peanut allergy. In many parts of the world, including the US, people die as a result of food allergy conditions.
Research conducted on several food items, across the world to determine the type of allergic reactions exhibited by the food items. The results of these studies help to formulate guidelines that help reduce allergic reactions in individuals who are suffering from various types of food allergy.
Home Remedies for Allergy
Allergy conditions are treated best after understanding their symptoms. Following are some of the home remedies that are useful for the treatment of different types of allergy.
- Symptoms of hay fever, sinus congestion. There are nasal solutions that the patients can try. Hands on remedies include saline nasal irrigation. This helps to flush out the sinuses with salt, water solution.
- The water used in the nasal solution should be distilled, sterilized to prevent infection.
- Household airborne allergy symptoms. To prevent airborne allergy, it is imperative to reduce the exposure to dust mites or any other agent that cause allergy. Individuals need to frequently wash their bedding, stuffed toys in sterilized, hot water.
- Mold allergy symptoms. Allergens thrive at places where the moisture content is high and therefore to keep allergens, allergy at bay it is important to reduce moisture in damp areas particularly in places where water accumulates like bathroom, kitchen, by using dehumidifiers , ventilation fans.
Coping with Allergy
To cope with allergy conditions, the patients require to:
- Check their signs, symptoms.
- Perform a physical text.
- Maintain a detailed record of the symptoms and the possible triggers.
- In the event of a food allergy condition, it is important for the patients to keep a detailed record of the foods that he or she eats.
- Visit the dermatologist if the skin allergy conditions aggravate.
Allergy or conditions caused by hypersensitivity of the human immune system can be serious and deadly if not treated in time. There are different types of allergic conditions including the skin, allergic asthma, anaphylaxis. Other conditions of allergy are caused because of an individual's food habits, insect venom, pollens, dust. The different allergy conditions display different symptoms.
For individuals suffering from allergy, it is imperative to visit the physician, in this case, an expert dermatologist and seek his advice. Treatment of allergic conditions requires an understanding of the disease. Blood tests or skin tests help in diagnosing the allergic condition. Proper diagnosis, medication, and effective treatment help the patient to recover from allergic diseases. Since prevention of allergy is better than cure, therefore, it is important that individuals take steps like avoiding triggers of allergy, maintain records of eating habits, wear a medical alert bracelet.