Allergies : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
What is meant by Allergy?
Allergies are discomforts of various kinds caused by ordinary harmless substances. The substances which cause allergies are termed as ‘allergens’.
What are Allergens?
Allergens are the substances that trigger an allergic reaction. Our immune system produces antibodies when the body is exposed to the allergens as if they are germs. Antibodies react with the allergens and neutralize them. The immune system releases histamines in excess in response to the allergens. As the histamines are released in excess they cause discomforts.
Allergens are categorized in the following way
- Allergens which affect the respiratory tract: These are inhalants such as pollen, ragweed, dust, smoke, perfumes, various airborne and malodorous (foul smell) chemicals.These allergens cause sneezing, coughing and breathing impairment problems.
- Allergens which affect the digestive system: These are the food substances that affect the digestive system like eggs, sea food, nuts, berries, chocolates and pork. These allergens cause nausea, diarrhoea, hives and skin rashes.
- Medicines and Drugs: Drugs like penicillins and particular serums which are used in inoculations.
- Allergens which affect the skin and mucous membranes: The agents which act on the skin are insecticides, poison oak, poison ivy, house dust, feathers, chemical dyes, cosmetics, soaps, metals, leathers and furs.
- Environmental Agents: Sunlight, excessive cold, light and pressure also act as allergens.
- Microbes: Microbes such as particular type of bacteria, viruses and parasites act as allergens.
Symptoms of Allergies:
Allergic symptoms include
- Itching of eyes
- Running nose
- Difficulty in breathing
- Welts on skin (Ridge or bump on the skin)
- Shocked state etc
Itching and tearing eyes are a common symptom of allergy caused by airborne substances such as pollen.
Treatment for Allergies:
Some allergic reactions do not develop until adulthood. In most of the cases, it is easy to identify the irritating substance and avoid it. In some cases, a series of tests has to be performed to track the allergen. Once the allergen is identified, it is better to avoid it by the allergic person. To get relieved of the allergic reactions, desensitization treatment has to be taken. If the allergies resist the desensitization treatment, drugs like adrenaline, ephedrine, cortisone and anti-histaminics are prescribed.