Common health issue

What are Allergies? Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Methods

Allergies

What are allergies?

Allergies mean your body’s reaction to a substance it views as a harmful “invader.” For instance, coming into contact with what is usually a harmless substance, like pollen, might cause your immune system (your body’s defense system) to react. However, harmless substances that cause these reactions are called allergens.

What is an allergic reaction?

The term “allergic reaction” is how your body responds to the allergen. However, a chain of events occurs that results in an allergen. If you are prone to an allergic reaction, the first time you are exposed to a specific allergen (like pollen), your body produces allergic antibodies. However, the role of these antibodies is to find the allergens and help reduce them from your system. As a result, a chemical substance called histamine is released and causes symptoms of allergies.

What are the types of allergies?

You can be allergic to a wide variety of substances that may include:-

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Molds
  • Animal dander
  • Latex
  • Certain foods
  • Insect venom (stings)

What are the symptoms of allergies?

Some possible symptoms of allergies may include:-

  • However, mild reactions may include local symptoms like a rash or hives, itchiness, watery/red eyes, hay fever, and runny nose. These reactions do not spread to other body parts.
  • Moderate reactions may include local symptoms that spread to other body parts. These symptoms may include itchiness, hives, swelling, and trouble breathing.
  • A severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, is a rare, life-threatening emergency in which your body’s response to the allergen is sudden and affects the body parts. However, this allergic reaction may begin with severe itching of your eyes or face. Severe serious symptoms may appear, such as throat swelling, abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, and swelling (angioedema). You may also have mental sickness or dizziness since anaphylaxis may cause a drop in blood pressure.

What causes allergies?

Anything you come into physical contact with that your body views as a “harmful invader” can cause an allergy. Ordinarily harmless substances of allergies may include pollen, animal disorder, mold, dust, foods, insect venom, and latex.

Technically, your allergy symptoms result from a chain of events in your body’s response to the “harmful invader.” Your body “sees” the harmful invader, makes antibodies to fight the harmful invader, and in so doing, releases histamines that cause your allergy symptoms.

Diagnosis

If you think you have allergies problems, do not wait to see your doctor if your symptoms go away. When your allergy symptoms last longer than a week and tend to come back, make an appointment with an allergy professional (specialist). The skin testing process may help identify the allergens causing your allergy symptoms. The allergy skin testing involves pricking your skin with a different allergen and testing your skin’s real test. A blood test evaluates the number of antibodies that may produce by your immune blood testing is not as sensitive as a skin test. However, upper levels of specific antibodies suggest a possible allergy to that allergen.

Treatment options

Although avoiding the allergen is a helpful way of treating, it usually doesn’t ultimately end the allergic problems—some medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, or a combination of over-the-counter.

Asthma medications, which may reduce allergy symptoms, include:-

  • Oral bronchodilators (theophylline)
  • Oral anti-leukotrienes (montelukast, zafirlukast and zileuton)
  • Some injections like omalizumab, dupilumab, reslizumab, benralizumab, or mepolizumab

Allergy shot therapy or allergy oral therapy may be helpful if your symptoms are not adequately reduced with a combination of avoidance measures and regular use of medications. Another treatment option for allergy reactions is saline irrigation using a sinus rinse kit.

 

Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by anup