Allergies

Allergies hay fever

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of allergies

One out of every five people around us is a victim of some form of allergy. It is only when the effects such as sneezing, itching, and swelling become more frequent that we realize that those are outcomes of allergies we are unaware of. Allergy is basically an irritation caused within the body in response to some external agents. A clear idea about the sources that trigger an allergy is necessary in order to identify the symptoms and carry out the diagnosis in the right direction.

 

What causes allergies?

Allergies skinThe sources of allergy are numerous. But it is necessary to have knowledge about the following common sources of allergy:

  • Food items like peanuts, gluten, eggs, shellfish
  • Drugs like Penicillin, Tetracycline, Sulfonamides, NSAIDs
  • Dander, saliva, and urine of animals
  • Pollen grains or dust
  • Insect secretions
  • Perfumes

These sources are also called “allergens”. When a person comes in contact with something he is allergic to, his body produces the Immunoglobulin E (IgE) protein that reacts to the allergen and triggers the secretion of Leukotrienes, Histamine, Cytokines into the bloodstream. These chemicals, in turn, stimulate the body to secrete more IgE and the cycle continues unless intercepted by external medications.

 

What are the main signs and symptoms?

Adequate knowledge on the different allergy symptoms enables one to identify the roots of a particular form of allergy merely by analyzing the manifestations. The most commonly observed symptoms are:

  • Swelling and irritation in the eye followed by constant watering
  • A runny nose along with itching and continuous sneezing
  • Swelling inside the mouth, especially in the gums and the roof of the mouth
  • Severe skin irritation followed by formation of hives (big red colored rashes)
  • A headache and fatigue
  • A constant cough and irritation of the throat, at times, accompanied by swelling

At the onset, the symptoms appear less severe, but it is highly recommended to take action immediately before the clinical conditions become more critical. The following pictures can help identify allergies and the related symptoms.

 

What are the different types of allergies?

Allergies may be constitutional, seasonal, environmental or due to numerous other reasons. A clear analysis of the different types of allergies can effectively reduce chances of reoccurrence of the same form of allergies in an individual. The different types of allergies are elucidated below-

allergies foodFood Allergy:  Food allergy refers to the immune response of the body to particular types of food.

This response is stimulated by the binding of the IgE protein produced by the body with the food molecules.

Histamine and other harmful chemicals like Cytokine are released at that time.

The severity of the effects depends on which tissue of the body is exposed to those toxic chemicals.

The immediate symptoms of food allergy are-

  • Excessive swelling of the tongue, gums lip along with constant secretion
  • Hives formation, accompanied by itching and intermittent bleeding.
  • If allowed to persist, this might lead to eczema.

The most common sources of food allergies children suffer from are-

  • Peanut, walnut
  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Gluten-containing foods like wheat, barley

Adults on the other hand catch allergies mainly due to exposure to prawns, crabs and other members of the shellfish family. At times raw fruits and vegetables cause “Oral Allergy Syndromes” (OAS), which can be avoided by consuming well-cooked food. Severe cases of food allergy often result in gastrointestinal disorders along with continuous vomiting.

Seasonal allergy: Seasonal allergies are mainly associated with pollen grains that are particularly prominent during Spring (the pollination season). People usually suffer from allergies triggered by seeds of cottonwood, cedar, birch etc. Places where grasslands are abundant, allergies occur due to pollen produced by grass during summer. These types of allergies are normally manifested as sinus infections and constant coughs.                                           

Drug allergy: Drug tolerance varies from one person to another. Typically, drug allergy patients are sensitive to the following type of medicines:

  • Tetracycline: Causes fever, body pains, and occasional blister formation
  • Penicillin: Causes diarrhea in extreme cases
  • NSAIDs: Causes abnormal swelling of facial parts

Cerebral Allergy: These are the rarest forms of allergies where more silent symptoms are observed in the initial stages. Gradually the impact becomes more prominent with symptoms like drowsiness, blurred vision, anxiety, sluggishness. Cerebral allergy primarily refers to the “psychiatric” symptoms triggered by elements present in a person’s surroundings. These symptoms are collectively referred as “allergy-tension-fatigue” syndromes and have the following manifestations:

  • Disabilities in motor functioning
  • Dyslexic tendencies
  • Depression and Insomnia
  • Hyperactivity leading to lack of concentration

It must be remembered that these form of allergies are more obscure and are often caused by allergies in the past which apparently seem to have disappeared.

 

Is there any genetic link?

Recent research results suggest that although allergies are caused by external agents, primarily, genes determine the susceptibility of an individual to “allergens”. A history of allergy in the family increases chances of future generations growing similar allergic traits. For example, the “culprits” behind peanut allergy are HLA-DQ and HLA-DR genes. Genetic mutations also play a major role in developing allergies.

 

Treatment and prevention

Allergies hay feverTreatment of allergic reactions often includes:

  • Anti-histamines or anti-allergy medications. These don’t cure the allergy completely but provide immediate relief from the symptoms. These can be taken in form of pills, gels, sprays, or drops.
  • Decongestants can also help in relieving the symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as the blocked nose and sore throat.
  • Steroid sprays are also prescribed which reduce nasal inflammation and congestion.

Preventive measures:

  • Avoid allergens as much as possible. It is the only sure shot way to prevent allergic attacks.
  • Wash upholstery regularly. Cushions, bed covers, soft toys etc should also be cleaned to avoid the dust mites from settling.
  • Keep your surroundings dry and well-ventilated. Moisture encourages the growth of mold and fungi.
  • Always read the ingredient list before consuming any food. Many people are allergic to peanut, milk products, and chemical preservatives. One should avoid such foods in case one suffers from food allergies.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding the baby for the first four months is important in building a stronger immune system. One should also include healthy probiotics in the diet to stay away from allergic reactions.

Facts

  • Asthma and allergic rhinitis affects more than 24 million Americans including 6 million children. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illnesses in the USA and they cost around $ 18 billion annually.

Facts

  • Anaphylaxis is a potentially fatal condition and can be triggered by certain drugs, medicines, and even insect bites.
  • The most common food allergens are peanuts, milk, and shellfish.

Facts

  • Every year around 90-100 deaths can be attributed to insect bite/sting anaphylaxis in the USA.
  • In the USA, up to 40,000 women have been reported to have an immune response (allergic reaction) to male ejaculate. This is known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Try to stay indoors between 5 am to 10 am. This is the time when maximum amount of pollen are released into the air.
  • Always wear a mask while mowing the lawn.
  • Understand specifically what you are allergic to and carefully refrain from exposing your body to it.
  • Get extra rest. Take steam and refrain from consuming alcohol.
Don'ts
  • Use window fans or attic fans as these tend to blow outdoor allergens such as dust, spores, and mites indoors.
  • Over-exert yourself doing exercises or playing sports if you are experiencing an allergic attack.
  • Take a hot shower if you experience skin allergies. In many cases, such as hives, it might worsen the condition.

 

 

 

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Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
sodium blood test
Blood Sodium Test A blood sodium test measures the amount of sodium (an important electrolyte) in your body. It is also…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Agave nectar: The bitter truth about this sweetener revealed Agave nectar is considered to be sweeter than the normal table sugar and even contains higher amounts of…
Plexus Slim: Is this pink slimming drink the ultimate one-stop fat burner? How effective is Plexus Slim in helping people lose weight? What are its ingredients? Can it be safely…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
What to eat, what not to eat in the South Beach Diet? The South Beach Diet is one among the most popular weight loss programs that have been the talk…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
myelogram
Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
antihepatitis core antigent
Anti-Hepatitis B Core Antigen (AHBc) Total Anti-hepatitis B core antigen (AHBC ) is a blood examination and the only serological marker of infectious blood…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
50 common health conditions
What are the top 50 deadly and widespread diseases? A complete list of the top 50 most common and deadly diseases that plague humanity. Which disease is…