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The Complete Guide to Allergy With its Symptoms and Treatment

Last Updated: Oct 19, 2021

What is allergy?

Allergy is a condition characterised by a level of sensitivity greater than normal to a specific substance or group of substances. These substances, called allergens, trigger a response in susceptible individuals. The allergens may be found in the ticks, moulds, food, pollen, pets, and dust mites.

A genetic tendency to develop allergic disease in a body is known as atopy. When the allergens come in contact with the people who are atopic, an immune gets developed which further leads to allergic reactions and inflammations. When the allergens come in contact with the person of a specific allergy then the possibility allergic reaction increases by many folds.

An antibody response is triggered by the body as soon as the allergen enters the body. The attachment of antibodies to the mast cells takes place. The reaction of the mast cell is to release histamine. If the histamine is released due to an allergen then it might lead to irritation and inflammation.

What are the 10 Most Common Allergies?

  • Allergic to penicillin: the allergic reaction due to penicillin can range from anaphylaxis to a mild rash. Penicillin is a group of antibiotics which is used regularly.
  • Meat allergies: a person can suffer from the allergic reaction due to meat like pork, poultry products, and beef. The symptoms of this allergic reaction take some time to develop.
  • Pollens: these are particles which are produced by the tree and the grass. If these particles reach within the body through breathing then it may lead to headache, sneezing and irritation of the throat.
  • Cosmetics: a number of cosmetic products like moisturiser, shampoo, and other face products can cause allergic reactions. Some of the common symptoms includes dryness and swelling.
  • Dust mites: it might be very surprising for you to know but dust mites are present in majority of the corners of the room. The carpets, curtains, and pillows are their house.
  • Animals: one of the most common allergens which is known around the world is that of protein which is being excreted by the animals. This can lead to wheezing if a person inhales it accidentally.
  • Food allergy: a person might also have food allergies. It is possible that a person might have allergic reactions to the dairy products like milk, cashew, eggs, nuts, etc.
  • Insects: Allergic reactions can be triggered if an insect bites the person. The bite of the insect can be dangerous as well. Some of the bites of the insects can be fatal as well.
  • Molds: these are fungi which can be easily found in the dark and damp places of the house. Allergy from molds can lead to irritation, sneezing and eventually asthma.
  • Perfume: a person can also be allergic to fragrance of a perfume as well. it is one of the most common allergen that may lead to skin rashes.
  • Cockroach: one of the most common causes of allergy can be due to cockroaches which are running around in the house. Breathing allergens released by cockroach can lead to the development of asthma in a person.

What Causes Allergy in the Body?

Cockroach: one of the most common causes of allergy can be due to cockroaches which are running around in the house. Breathing allergens released by cockroach can lead to the development of asthma in a person.

  • If a person has a family history of allergies.
  • If a person is not being exposed to appropriate sunlight.
  • If a person is suffering from asthma.

What is the symptoms of Allergy?

An Allergy is a reaction of the body to a particular agent. The symptoms include allergic rhinitis, sneezing, conjunctivitis, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, cough, red rashes that are raised and itchy i.e hives, swollen lips, tongue, eyes, and face, pain in the stomach, vomiting, diarrhoea, feeling of sickness and dry and cracked skin.

What triggers Allergy?

Allergy is triggered when the immune system responds to external stimuli such as pollen, bee venom, dander, or any food that usually does not cause a reaction in most individuals. The immune system responds by producing antibodies against a particular allergen considering it as harmful, though it may not be for most individuals.

How long can Allergy last?

Allergic symptoms may not be exhibited instantaneously. It may become apparent anywhere between a few hours to 10 days. Symptoms may last 2 to 4 weeks even with treatment. Avoiding continuous exposure to the allergen can prevent it from becoming perennial.

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How do We Prevent Allergies?

A person cannot prevent allergic reactions. Although, it is possible to limit the symptoms which are being experienced by a person. There are treatments available to alleviate the symptoms of the allergy. For the prevention of allergy a person is required to protect himself from the allergens. In some cases it is not as easy as it sounds. It is impossible to protect oneself from the allergens during the summer or late spring. If a person has pets in his/her house then it gets even more difficult to protect oneself from the allergy. However, being vigilant can prevent from allergies in the future.

How do You Get Tested for Allergies?

  • Blood test: A doctor may order this test to check for thee level of IgE antibodies which are released by the immune system.
  • Skin prick test: this test can also be referred to as the puncture test. In this test the skin is pricked with an allergen. If the skin of the person starts reacting then it confirms the presence of the allergens.

What is the Best Treatment for Allergies?

Skin prick test: this test can also be referred to as the puncture test. In this test the skin is pricked with an allergen. If the skin of the person starts reacting then it confirms the presence of the allergens.

  • Antihistamine: these medications are responsible for blocking the histamine actions.
  • Leukotriene receptors antagonists: if other treatments for asthma are not working a doctor may prescribe them as it blocks the effect of leukotriene.
  • Decongestants: this medication is prescribed if a person is suffering from the leukotriene.
  • A doctor may also advise immunotherapy. This therapy is recommended by the doctor to rehabilitate the immune system. This therapy is used for inducing long-term tolerance.

Anyone who has an allergy to any substance is eligible to seek out treatment for it. This is because allergies can often cause a lot of discomfort, fever like symptoms, skin problems, and so on and its best to treat these symptoms rather than to live with them indefinitely.

If a series of allergy tests have been administered and the results show that you are not allergic to anything, then your symptoms may be caused due to another medical condition. In this case, you are not eligible to seek out treatment for allergies as the problem you have is something else. Your course of treatment will be to treat that specific problem.

How do you get Allergies to go away?

Allergies may be seasonal i.e hay fever or they may not be. We can avoid having allergies by doing some simple things in our daily life such as reducing exposure to the factors that cause Allergy, maintaining the purity of the indoor air, avoiding exposure to outside when the pollen counts are high, nasal irrigation with a saline solution and an application of oral antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal spray.

Does drinking water help with allergies?

Histamine produced by the immune system protects against harmful irritants like mold, dust, and pollen. It helps to preserve water in the body. Once an individual is dehydrated, the production of histamine is enhanced by the body. This in turn results in symptoms similar to seasonal allergies. Hence, drinking sufficient water will not allow excessive production of histamine and decrease the Allergy symptoms.

Are There Any Side Effects?

There are no specific side effects to treating allergies. However, for people who are very vulnerable to multiple allergies, it is important to note that you may even be allergic to some of the ingredients that are used to create different medications. Therefore, if you experience anything unusual after taking your medication, you should report the same to your doctor immediately in case your symptoms begin to worsen.

How Do You Treat Allergic Rhinitis Naturally?

In case of allergic rhinitis the home remedies would depend on the type of the allergen causing the allergic reaction. If a person suffers from the allergy of pollens then rather than opening windows a person can make use of the air conditioners. A person can also opt for some herbs for the natural treatment of allergic rhinitis. Butterbur can be very effective in the treatment of allergic symptoms. It acts like antihistamines. A nutrient quercetin which is commonly found in the black tea, apples, and onions blocks the release of histamines. Addition of essential oils when a person is bathing can be very beneficial in reducing the symptoms of the allergy.

What is a Natural Remedy for Dust Allergies?

Some of the natural remedies for the home treatment includes

  • Apple cider vinegar: it has expectorant nature along with the anti-inflammatory properties. It is very helpful in the treatment of allergic reactions caused by dust.
  • Wasabi: it contains a compound called allyl isothiocyanate which fights against the allergens. It is one of the common horseradish.
  • Nettle leaf: drinking nettle leaves tea can be very advantageous as it has natural anti-histamine properties.
  • Aloe vera: the analgesic properties of aloe vera can help in the reduction of pain and swelling caused due the dust allergies.
Summary: An Allergy is a reaction of the body to a particular agent which includes allergic rhinitis, sneezing, conjunctivitis, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, cough, and red rashes. We can avoid having allergies by doing some simple things in our daily life such as reducing exposure to the factors that cause Allergy, maintaining the purity of the indoor air, avoiding exposure to outside when the pollen counts are high, nasal irrigation with a saline solution and an application of oral antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal spray.

References

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Written ByDr. Akhilesh Singh Post Graduate Course In Diabetology,CCEBDM(DIABETOLOGY) & CCMH ( CARDIOLOGY)General Physician
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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