What is Allergy – The name allergy is predominantly and collectively given to a wide spectrum of clinical conditions. An allergy or Hypersensitivity is an abnormal reaction or increased sensitivity when an individual is exposed to certain unfavorable substances. Rapid urbanization, change in diet habits, inclination towards fast foods, altered lifestyle patterns have increased the number of allergy cases globally. It has been recorded that 30 % of all visits to physicians and pediatricians are because of allergy wherein majorly allergic rhinitis ( read below ) contributes 10- 30 %, urticaria ( read below ) occurs about 20 %, Hay fever (read below ) accounts 9-10 %, Drug reactions may affect up to 10 % (Ref. to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI ). The center for disease control and prevention ( CDC ) shared data that one in 13 people have asthma. Allergy and asthma go hand in hand.
There are certain substances that after coming into contact with a susceptible person trigger allergic reactions, these substances we call as allergens.
- There are more than 700 types of allergens that have been identified, purified, and characterized.
- The entire substance is not involved in triggering the allergic response. Only a small part of a substance that triggers the allergic reaction.
- Many allergens can have similar symptoms
- A person at a time may be allergic to more than one substance, so identifying the type of allergens are important for differentiating symptoms and diagnosis.
Important allergens groups –
|Name of the Group||Name of the Allergens|
|Food||Plant or animal origin. Peanuts, potato, tomato, egg white, cow’s milk, fish, pork, seafood and so many.|
|Drugs||Medicines like penicillin , local aesthetics, ointment Etc.|
|Insect Venoms||Bees, wasps Etc.|
|Molds||Aspergillus, Alternaria, Cladosporium Etc.|
|Articles||Chromium, Latex, Rubber products, Nickel Etc.|
|Indoor Allergens||House dust mite, cat , dog, cockroaches|
|Outdoor Allergens||Herbs, weeds, flowers, pollens ( grass & grain ) etc.|
How does an Allergen enter the body?
Allergen can enter the body through different routes and depending upon their routes to enter the body allergens may be broadly classified as:-
- When in Contact – Jewellery, cosmetics, dyes, skin ointments, stains, chemicals, rubbers, drugs, etc.
- When Inhaled – Pollens, seasonal pollens, fungi, house dust mites, cockroaches, pet animals dander, latex products. Use Mask. Check on Amazon
- When Ingested – Improper water, food, unchecked self-medication.
- When Injected – Insect bites, drugs, improper injectable, blood products
Symptoms of Common Allergy –
Allergic reactions can be sudden, delayed, mild, severe, and even life-threatening. A severe life-threatening form of allergy is technically known as ‘anaphylaxis’. Some symptoms of common allergies can include the followings:-
- Skin – Redness, itching, rashes
- Nose – Sneezing, congestion
- Eye – Redness, irritation, inflammation
- Lungs – Wheezing, cough, breathing difficulty, cold allergy.
- Heart – Chest pain, fainting
- Sluggishness, lack of energy
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Who Becomes Allergic?
Anyone can develop an allergy, but it has been noticed that the probability of allergy is increased if one or both the parents of an individual has suffered from some kind of allergic reactions. On the flip side under the influence of favorable allergic agents or atmosphere, a child may develop allergic symptoms despite parents are normal. It must be noted too, though, that in some cases even both the parents are affected, a child may not be allergic.
Common Allergies –
- Asthma – Asthma may begin at any age and if neglected tends to recur frequently and eventually may become chronic. In allergic asthma, the environmental allergens when inhaled or ingested trigger the disease and thereby causing the obstruction of airflow to the lungs. A wheezing sound appears due to the rush of air through the narrow airways. An inhaler steamer may be used. Check On Amazon
- Rhinitis – This an inflammation of nasal mucosa triggered by an allergic reaction. This condition is caused by non-seasonal allergens such as house dust, molds.
- Conjunctivitis – This is an inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye. In the case of allergic conjunctivitis, it is often associated with rhinitis. The patient starts complaining redness & itching of eyes.
- Hay Fever – The main cause of this kind of allergy is pollens. The source of pollens is flowers, grasses, weeds, and trees. The attacks may occur in spring, summer, or autumn depending on the location and season. The inner lining of the nose becomes inflamed and swollen with runny discharge. Use Mask. Check Price On Amazon
- Eczema – The reason for Eczema is not often clear, sometimes associated with family history. The skin becomes irritated, starts developing wet or dry rashes with severe itching.
- Urticaria ( Nettle Rash, Hives ) – it is a sudden reaction where the skin becomes warm, reddish, and develops itches. The symptoms may last for a couple of hours or up to a whole day. Causes unknown.
- Contact Dermatitis – The cause is direct contact with different substances like nickel ( in coins, stainless steel, jewelry), rubber ( in gloves, boots ), chromium ( in cement, leather ), preservatives ( in food items, cosmetics ). The symptoms are somewhat similar to eczema.
- Food and Insect Allergy – The stomach and digestive system are frequent targets for allergic reactions. The symptoms are vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, or constipation. The food allergens list is mentioned in the above allergens table. Sometimes food anaphylaxis ( severe systemic allergic reaction ) is most commonly seen with the ingestion of nuts and shellfish ( lobster, shrimp). A healthy diet is recommended. Check On Amazon. severe allergic reactions are also seen by bee and wasp stings. A person who is highly sensitive to bee or wasp stings may become faint and needs medical attention.
- Occupational Allergy – People working in the industrial belt and coming in regular contact with industrial vapor, gases, fumes, dyes, glues, nickels, the rubber may develop different allergic reactions including the pulmonary system. Workers often get well when they are on vacation but the cases recur when they resume their duties again.
Generally, all individuals with severe, persisting, or recurrent allergic symptoms should undergo a testing mechanism to rule out the possible causes and to find out the allergens involved. A lot of different traditional diagnostics tests and some newly developed tests are nowadays very popular. Skin prick test ( SPT ), patch test, provocation, and elimination tests, total IgE ( an antibody that increases its amount when allergens enter our body ) test, individual allergen-specific IgE tests can be performed from a professional expert.
Concluding Advice –
Identifying of allergen and allergen-specific treatment – This is extremely important to prevent anaphylaxis ( sudden severe life-threatening shock ). After the specific allergen is identified immediate measures to be taken to avoid that particular allergen or that particular group of allergens.
Treatment – As a mentioned serum, IgE level and identification of specific allergens are highly significant. A few key objectives about treatment may be as follows –
# Wherever possible the causative factors from the environment should be removed.
# To neutralize the irritation of tissue by applying drugs. See a doctor. For immediate relief Check On Amazon
# By the process of vaccination the reactivity may be decreased.
Are you now prepared what to do and what not to do in case you are exposed to allergens? Check On Amazon