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Patient Review Highlights
Every year, the emergency rooms at hospitals get flooded by cases of allergic reactions from food. According to a census, about 15 million Indians suffer from some kind of food allergy. The symptoms of food allergy may vary from itchy mouth to potentially fatal conditions like anaphylactic shock. Other symptoms of an allergic reaction can present themselves as difficulty in breathing, swelling of the tongue, rashes and intestinal discomfort.
According to specialists, allergies to food can develop at any age, at any time. Hence, if you suspect a sudden allergic reaction to a food that you have consumed before without any problem, it is advised to consult a doctor.
Here is a list of the most common food allergies that people suffer from frequently-
- MILK: Milk is the most common food that children and infants are allergic to. Milk allergy must not be confused with lactose intolerance wherein a person faces many difficulties in digesting the sugar present in milk. The two conditions are not related. Milk allergy is the hypersensitivity reaction that happens in response to certain proteins present in milk and can be potentially deadly. Most children are seen to outgrow their allergy to milk.
- WHEAT: It is a common misconception to confuse Celiac’s disease with a wheat allergy. Wheat allergy exclusively occurs due to the hypersensitivity to the protein present in wheat alone. In Celiac’s disease, it is the gluten in the food they are hypersensitive to, which is also present in rye, barley and oats.
- SOY: Soy is a very common allergic food and most children seem to outgrow it by the age of 10. Most of the time, soy allergy is not too severe and the symptoms presented are mostly mild. Although, cases of anaphylaxis in reaction to soy have been reported. Soy and soy protein are very common ingredients found in food, hence it is advised to check the ingredients present before consuming it.
- SHELLFISH: This allergy usually does not go away and you are most likely to deal with all your life. Most people who experience allergies from shellfish are most likely to be hypersensitive to both crustaceans (lobsters, shrimps and crabs) and mollusks (mussels, oysters, scallops and clams). This type of allergy can become very intense and you must even avoid the steam produced from cooking shellfish. For some people, the mere contact with shellfish can trigger an allergic reaction
Also known as contact dermatitis or contact eczema, allergic eczema is a condition wherein one experience symptoms of skin rash on coming in contact with an allergen. Other symptoms include a burning sensation in the eyes, coughing and a runny nose.
This condition is caused when you come in contact with an allergen. Some common triggers that cause your immune system to react in this manner are:
Perfumes in cosmetics
Metals such as nickel found in jewelry
Latex based products
Chemicals present in soaps and other cleansing agents
Certain antibiotic creams and lotions
With allergic eczema, the most common symptoms include itching and pain around the affected area and tender skin. Inflammation and dry skin are some other common symptoms that one may experience. Pus-filled red bumps are common occurrences along with this disorder. The skin may start to thicken and turn scaly. The symptoms may show up when one is exposed to sunlight.
The treatment for this disorder begins after a thorough diagnosis of the symptoms. Based on how severe the symptoms are, the treatment is prescribed accordingly. The first step is usually to wash the affected area with warm water to wash away the allergens. In case of mild symptoms, you may not need any treatment. It is also advised to use apply moisturizing cream to maintain hydration of the skin. To reduce inflammation and itching, use of corticosteroid creams is recommended.
In case of severe symptoms, strong corticosteroid pills may be prescribed.
If the treatments are carried out properly, the symptoms tend to clear up within 15-20 days. However, it is important to remember that the condition may erupt again if you come in contact with the allergen once more. Thus identification of the allergen is very important for long-term treatment and preventive measures. By seeing an allergist contact dermatitis can be ruled out by doing an Allergy Patch Testing. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist and ask a free question.
What is allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is defined as allergic symptoms in the nasal passage. Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal (occurring during specific seasons) or perennial (occurring year round). The allergens that most commonly cause seasonal allergic rhinitis include pollens from trees, grasses and weeds, as well as spores from fungi and moulds. The allergens that most commonly cause perennial allergic rhinitis are house dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander and fungi or moulds. Perennial allergic rhinitis tends to be more difficult to treat.
How does allergic rhinitis occur ?
This condition occurs when allergens (allergy- causing substances) come into contact with the nose, and usually also the ears, sinuses, and the throat. When allergens come in contact with the lining of the nose and sinuses, they trigger the cells to release the chemical histamine, which causes the allergy symptoms described below.
What are the symptoms ?
- Nasal congestion
- Watery " runny nose"
- Itchy eyes,nose,or throat
- Puffy eyes or 'allergic shiners'
- Post nasal drip
These symptoms may occur during a certain season or year long. They can occur at any age.
What is the treatment for allergic rhinitis ?
A number of medications, including antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids, and decongestants are available to control symptoms. Allergen immunotherapy could provide long lasting benefit. You can "train" your immune system not to react exaggerated to an allergen anymore.