What Is Allergy

Outdoor shot of displeased Caucasian woman feels allergy, holds white tissuue, stands near tree with blossom, feels unwell, sneezes all time. People and health problems. Spring time. Blooming

Allergies

What is an Allergy?
• An allergy is the immune system’s abnormal reaction to foreign substances that do not normally cause reactions in other people. • Substances that cause these reactions are known as allergens.


Why Should we Address Allergies?

Allergic diseases constitute a significant cause of morbidity globally.Allergies and related diseases affect at least 30% of the population and nearly 80% of families. Medical services providing expert allergy care are lacking in many countries. Allergic diseases are often underdiagnosed and undertreated.


Examples of Allergens;

Airborne allergens,e.g. pollen, animal dander, dust mites and moldCertain foods,e.g. peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs and milk Insect stings,e.g. from a bee or waspMedications,especially penicillin or penicillin-based antibioticsLatex, can cause allergic skin reactionsPhysical conditions e.g. extreme temperatures.


How Does an Allergy Occur?
• A person comes into contact with an allergy.

• The body recognizes the allergen as a foreign substance.

• An immune response is triggered by the production of an antibody called IgE.

• The antibody attaches to the allergen and stimulates further immune reactions, leading to the production of a chemical called histamine.

• Histamine and other chemicals get released into the blood and cause the symptoms.


Symptoms of Allergic Reactions;
• The symptoms differ based on the type of allergen responsible

• The symptoms may be mild or life-threateningHay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, can cause:

• Sneezing

• Itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth

• Runny, stuffy nose

• Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis) A food allergy can cause:• Tingling in the mouth

• Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat

• Hives

• Anaphylaxis
A food allergy can cause:
• Tingling in the mouth

• Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat

• Hives

• Anaphylaxis


Symptoms;
An insect sting allergy can cause:
• A large area of swelling (edema) at the sting site• Itching or hives all over the body• Cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath• Anaphylaxis
A drug allergy can cause:• Hives• Itchy skin• Rash• Facial swelling• Wheezing• Anaphylaxis
Atopic dermatitisIs an allergic skin condition also called eczema, can cause skin to:• Itch• Redden• Flake or peel
Risk Factors;
You might be more likely to develop an allergy if you:• Having a family history of asthma or allergies, such as hay fever, hives or eczema• Are a child• Have asthma or another allergic condition


Treatment;


Antihistamines-Decongestants
-Nasal steroids
-Asthma medicines
-Immunotherapy-a series of injections of purified allergen extracts, usually given over a period of a few years.
-Emergency epinephrine- for severe allergic reactions, given as a shot.


Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Some allergy symptoms improve with home treatment.• Sinus congestion and hay fever symptoms- Saline nasal irrigation — rinsing out the sinuses with a salt and water solution. • Household airborne allergy symptoms- Reduce exposure to dust mites or pet dander by frequently washing bedding and stuffed toys in hot water, maintaining low humidity, regularly using a vacuum with a fine filter.• Mold allergy symptoms- Reduce moisture in damp areas e.g. bath and kitchen, by using ventilation fans and dehumidifiers. • Fix leaks inside and outside your home.


Prevention;


• Avoid known triggers.• Keep a diary to: o To identify what causes or worsens allergic symptomso Track your activities o Track what you eat o When symptoms occur o What seems to help. • Wear a medical alert bracelet.• For people with severe allergic reactions• A medical alert bracelet (or necklace) lets others know that you have a serious allergy in case you have a reaction and you’re unable to communicate.


SUMMARY;
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts abnormally to otherwise harmless substances known as allergens

• Allergic reactions can be mild or life-threatening

• Allergies increase the risk of developing other diseases such as rhinitis, sinusitis, and asthma

• Allergens can be found everywhere within our surroundings

• There is a need to create public awareness about allergic reactions and allergens

• Knowing one’s triggers is the first step towards avoiding such reactions

• Avoiding allergens helps to prevent allergic reactions

• Medical attention may be needed to treat allergic reactions to prevent life-threatening complications.
Dr. Keyna OmenukorKrystal Family ClinicMesquite, Texas

By Dr. Keyna

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