What Is an Allergy?
The word allergy comes from the Greek allos, meaning other, and ergon, meaning work.
An allergy is one of the body’s responses to something that doesn’t belong in it. It is a bit like shooing away an intruder.
Allergic responses take many forms, but they all have two basic features in common.
First, they are caused by exposure to proteins that are made by plants or animals–not by exposure to chemicals or other substances that are normally considered harmful.
Second, the reaction involves inflammation.
The first feature is crucial to understanding what allergies are–and what they aren’t.
The body’s immune system recognizes proteins as foreign; when it encounters them again it unleashes various weapons to destroy them (including specially designed antibodies called immunoglobulins.
This attack on the protein may harm cells in its neighborhood; the exposure also triggers inflammation, which can cause pain and redness, and swelling.
Even though allergic reactions occur when the body attacks proteins, the proteins themselves aren’t harmful;
it is possible to become allergic to almost anything (including things like rubber bands or hair or dirt), but once you are allergic, you won’t be harmed if you continue exposure to those things. In fact, you can be allergic to something as innocuous as an allergy is a hypersensitivity.
It means that your body mistakenly thinks something harmless is dangerous and responds to it as if it were an invader.
Allergic reactions are familiar to most people, though they are poorly understood by most doctors.
They are familiar enough that it seems silly to try to explain them.
But the idea that allergies are caused by errors in judgment leaves us with some interesting questions:
How can an error be inherited?
Are allergies contagious?
Are there forms of hypersensitivity that are not allergies?
What Happens During an Allergic Reaction?
The main thing that happens during an allergic reaction is that your immune system makes a mistake.
Your immune system is usually pretty good about telling its antibodies and white blood cells to attack only foreign invaders, but in the case of a severe allergy, it confuses a harmless substance with a dangerous one.
Then it launches a full-scale assault on the body itself. The result of this attack is an allergic reaction.
An allergic reaction can be mild or severe.
On a mild scale, you might suffer from itching, swelling, sneezing, watery eyes, or an upset stomach.
In more severe reactions, you can have difficulty breathing, your throat can close up completely, and you might even go into shock and die.
In most cases of severe allergic reactions, the first step involves sending out too many white blood cells called eosinophil to deal with a perceived invader.
These eosinophils release a chemical called histamine as part of their attack on the invader.
This histamine triggers some unpleasant symptoms: swelling, itching, and inflammation — basically the same stuff that happens when you get stung by a bee or bitten by a mosquito.
The thing you’re allergic to is called an allergen.
Allergic reactions usually happen suddenly, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe: swelling, itching, coughing, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, or even a life-threatening reaction.
Often the symptoms occur as soon as you come into contact with an allergen.
If you’re allergic to something like pollen or mold spores, you might start sneezing as soon as you walk outside.
If you’re allergic to bee stings, the symptoms might come right after you’ve been stung by a bee (though often they don’t develop for an hour or two).
But sometimes the symptoms show up hours after exposure; if you’re allergic to penicillin, for example, it might be hours before hives or trouble breathing develop.
What Are the Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction?
An inadequate immune system is inadequate to defend our body from foreign substances.
In some cases, it generates a response that is stronger than the one required, and that is an allergy.
The most common symptoms are:
Rashes on the skin
Itchy nose and eyes
Tightness in the chest
Asthma attacks – Some patients have had asthma for years or decades before they finally discover they have cow’s milk allergy (CMA).
Asthma can be an early symptom of CMA, even though most patients with it don’t realize that asthma may be caused by food allergy at all until they find out about its connection to CMA through testing by an allergist or other health care professional.
When the allergist tells them their asthma is caused by food allergy and lists milk as a possible cause, they usually don’t make the connection right away because milk is such a common item in their diet and because they still believe milk is good for them and they’ve been drinking it since childhood;
It took time for them to understand its connection to their asthma—it’s not as if their asthma started
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What is Anaphylaxis?
What is the definition of Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe and rapid allergic reaction. It can occur in several circumstances:
The most common cause of anaphylaxis is a food allergy. A person who has eaten a food they are sensitive to will have an immune system response when the next exposure occurs.
For people with severe allergies, eating any food they are sensitive to may trigger anaphylaxis.
An insect bite or sting can cause an allergic reaction in some people. This can happen immediately after being stung or several hours later.
Certain drugs may cause an allergic reaction in some patients. This occurs more often in people who have had previous drug reactions or have family members with allergies, asthma, or other immune system conditions.
It is important to know that both children and adults may be at risk for developing anaphylaxis when taking certain medications.
Some medical devices used to help treat children with disabilities may contain latex, making them a serious risk for children with severe allergies to latex.
Allergic reactions can vary from mild symptoms to life-threatening anaphylaxis in minutes after exposure for someone who has experienced it before.
Skin symptoms are most common but also most benign.
Respiratory symptoms are most likely to cause death if not treated immediately with epinephrine.
Who Gets Allergies? What is An Allergy and how is it Treated?
A person with a bad lifestyle having a weak immune system is prone to get allergies. Also, it runs in genes.
Why are allergies so common?
One answer is that they are just misfiring, caused by something that doesn’t really look like a virus or bacteria.
And there are some germ-like things, like poison, oak rashes or herpes, which do cause allergies.
But most allergies aren’t like that; they aren’t caused by bugs or germs; they are caused by pollen, or latex, or peanuts.
There is no known reason why your immune system should react to these things with inflammation and mucus production.
They seem like benign substances. You can’t see why your immune system would bother reacting to them at all.
You can test this yourself: try rubbing some peanut butter into your hand. You’ll probably get an allergic reaction–a red itchy bumpy rash (if you are allergic to it).
Allergy sufferers can breathe a little easier knowing they are not alone. More than 40 million Americans suffer from some type of allergy, and almost everyone knows someone who suffers from them.
What causes these allergies?
For most people, it is simply a genetic predisposition. The immune system has been primed to react to certain substances that cause an allergic reaction.
This response is called the IgE antibody response, and those who suffer from allergies have a greater than normal amount of it.
What Is an Allergic Reaction?
Your immune system launches an attack on a harmless substance, such as pollen or peanuts.
The result can be mild — an itchy nose — or serious: a debilitating shock that sends the victim to the hospital.
Allergic reactions are different from other immune responses. When you have an infection, for example, your body’s defenses are mobilized against specific germs.
But when you have allergies, your defenses are activated against proteins in harmless substances — in this case, the proteins in pollen or peanuts.
Your immune system is supposed to protect you from outside invaders. It does this by recognizing certain molecules that are found only in bacteria and viruses.
These distinctive molecules are called antigens.
When your white blood cells encounter an antigen, they send out an alarm signal to the rest of the immune system.
Thousands of soldiers spring forth to battle this foreign intruder — but not against the whole organism containing the antigen.
Only certain parts of it are targeted because only those parts contain the antigen.
The allergic reaction is unusual in another way.
Normally when your immune system goes after invaders, it mounts a general assault on them, regardless of where they are in your body.
But with allergies, the body’s defenses are mobilized only when allergens come into contact with specific organs in
An allergic reaction is an antibody reaction against a normally harmless substance. Antibodies are proteins that are part of the immune system. They are made by white blood cells called B lymphocytes.
The immune system is always on alert for invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
Cells of the immune system are circulating in the blood and lymph fluid waiting for invaders to come along. When they find an invader, they begin to make antibodies. There are many different types of antibodies, each one recognizing a slightly different feature of the invader.
Why Allergic Reactions Happen – What is An Allergy and how is it Treated?
Allergic reactions happen when your immune system mistakes something in the environment for a threat. It responds by releasing chemicals (histamines) that cause symptoms like watery eyes and sneezing.
When you encounter the allergen for the first time, your immune system doesn’t know it’s harmless. So in addition to histamines, it also releases other chemicals (cytokines) that attract white blood cells to the area. This is an attempt to start fighting off the invader.
Allergic reactions are not simple immune system malfunctions. They are an active process.
The allergen reacts with immune system cells called mast cells and basophils and causes them to release histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation and other changes in the body.
The problem with histamine and its ilk are not that they cause inflammation or changes; those are normal and useful responses that help us deal with infections and injuries.
When we have an allergy, though, those chemicals go into overdrive — like a fire department called out to put out a minor trash fire who respond as if their lives depended on it.
It’s what happens next that causes problems: increased blood flow; increased mucus secretion; swelling
What Things Most Often Cause an allergic Attack?
The most common causes of allergic reactions are pollen, mold spores, dust mites, and pet dander. Certain foods can also cause an allergic reaction, but they usually do so by causing the body to react to something else in the food.
Many allergens are common, and low-level exposure to them is not likely to trigger an allergic reaction. The most common airborne allergens are pollens from trees (including grasses), weeds, and certain types of mold.
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The commonest things that cause an allergic reaction:
Food allergies are caused by the immune system getting confused between what you eat and what is actually you.
It’s not just about eating shellfish or peanuts, but also citrus fruits, tomatoes, dairy products, wheat, and soybeans.
The immune system is working fine with most foods but for some reason, there are certain foods that cause problems.
This immune confusion can be due to an inherited condition or it can develop at any time in your life. Food allergies are becoming more common now than ever before.
Even so, it is still possible to avoid many of these foods if you know what they are and how to spot them.
Some common types of allergies
1. Hay fever or allergic rhinitis?
Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is an allergic condition in which the immune system over-reacts to otherwise harmless substances.
It’s common in people with asthma and eczema and affects about 2% of adults in the UK.
It can be triggered by any number of allergens, including grasses, trees, flowers, molds, and animal hair.
Hay fever and other types of allergic rhinitis (hay fever, grass allergy, and similar conditions) are caused by an overreaction to certain airborne substances (called allergens).
It is a type of hypersensitivity reaction. The symptoms may include:
2. Sneezing; What is An Allergy and how is it Treated?
Itchy, red eyes (conjunctivitis) and watery eyes;
an itchy nose; a blocked, runny or stuffy nose;
Wheezing; shortness of breath; and coughing.
The symptoms may be mild or severe and can vary from day to day. Often they start within minutes of exposure and their intensity depends on how much allergen is inhaled and the sensitivity of the person to the allergen.
It is important to distinguish allergic rhinitis from common colds that cause nasal congestion because hay fever and other types of allergic rhinitis are treatable.
If you have hay fever or another allergy you should see your healthcare provider if:
You have symptoms every year, even when there is no pollen in the air.
You have symptoms in the early spring or late fall when there is no pollen in the air.
You have symptoms at work or home during the day when there is no pollen in the air.
3. Food allergy?
Food allergy is a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakes a harmless food protein for an invader and attacks it, often causing symptoms such as skin rash, digestive problems, or breathing difficulty.
It is one of the most common chronic conditions in children.
While many people are aware that allergies are caused by an overactive immune system, they may not realize that food allergies are different from other common allergies, such as dust or pollen.
Food allergy involves the immune system in a different way. Although reactions to the eight most common food allergens are sometimes severe in allergen-sensitized individuals, not everyone with food allergies will have severe reactions.
There are several different ways that people can be allergic to food.
Some people just have mild reactions—itching in the mouth after eating peanuts, for example—while others have severe reactions after just one bite of a particular food.
These severe reactions are known as anaphylaxis and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly and properly.
Allergic reactions to foods do not occur due to intolerance (the inability to digest or break down certain proteins) or sensitivity (in which case symptoms relate to oral allergy syndrome). With all types of food allergies, it’s important to identify the cause and avoid it whenever possible.
4. Eczema – What is An Allergy and how is it Treated?
Eczema is a disease of the skin. The name means “to boil over.”
When you have eczema, the skin gets itchy, red, and swollen. There are different forms of eczema, but the most common one is atopic dermatitis.
Sometimes this is called infantile eczema because it is so common in babies.
Eczema is especially common in people who have an allergic condition called atopy.
Atopy means that your immune system overreacts to very common allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander, food, insect venom), infections (viruses, bacteria), irritants (soap, detergents, hot water), autoimmune reactions or unknown causes.
Some people think that eczema may be an allergic reaction to food proteins called amino acids.
This would be especially true of babies because their immune systems are still too undeveloped to tell the difference between food and germs.
You can get it on any part of your body that comes into contact with the outside world: your face (including your eyelids), your neck and upper chest, under your arms and in your groin.
The redness is caused by blood vessels leaking fluid into the skin. Swelling is another symptom; so are itching and burning.
The fluid leaks out unevenly so you get bumps and pimples along with the redness. The bumps may be tiny or large; they may come and go over time; they may seem to disappear for no reason then come back for no reason.
There are several different kinds of eczema.
Atopic kids get it on their faces and hands;
Contact dermatitis shows up where you come into contact with something else;
Seborrhea dermatitis causes flaky patches on the scalp and greasy patches on the sides of the nose and eyebrows; stasis dermatitis
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Allergy due to Medications?
An allergic reaction usually involves the immune system.
The body’s immune cells react to some medications like penicillin. This causes inflammation, which can lead to itching, hives, and other symptoms.
The immune system is supposed to protect the body by attacking anything it considers harmful.
Allergy due to stings?
Allergy reactions are the third most common adverse drug reaction in the United States, with about 10% of people experiencing some type of allergy in their lifetime. About 20% of people have an allergy to bees or wasps.
Most allergic reactions are mild, but some can be life-threatening.
The most common form of an allergic reaction is known as an IgE-mediated reaction.
The body’s immune system makes antibodies called IgE when it’s exposed to an allergen, which leads to the release of chemicals that cause itching and swelling.
This type of allergic reaction often develops within minutes or hours after exposure to the allergen.
Anaphylaxis: What Is It and How to Get Help
It is important to distinguish between anaphylaxis and other severe allergies. Generalized skin rashes are not true anaphylaxis.
Insect stings, bee stings, and penicillin are all common causes of generalized skin rashes.
The rash of anaphylaxis is more likely to be accompanied by difficulty breathing or swallowing.
With any severe allergic reaction, it is important to get medical help quickly. If you cannot get to a doctor right away, then follow these steps:
Stay calm – True anaphylaxis can be life-threatening, but most cases will resolve on their own if the patient remains calm.
Panicked breathing may make the throat swell more.
Natural Allergy Remedies
Natural allergy remedies are the best options for those who suffer from hay fever and other types of allergies that result in sneezing, watery eyes, and even throat irritation.
Antihistamines do not cure allergies; they only mask the symptoms.
Natural allergy remedies, on the other hand, will help you get rid of your allergies and enjoy life without suffering from them anymore.
There are many natural allergy remedies available to people who suffer from allergies. The most popular one is keeping a journal of your body’s reaction to certain allergens.
You can keep a food diary as well as a journal listing all the activities you do during the day.
This way, you can determine what triggers your allergies and avoid doing them as much as possible.
Another natural remedy is to use herbs such as lavender and borage oil to relieve itching caused by allergies.
Natural allergy remedies have low side effects compared to drugs or medicines that contain chemicals that could cause serious health problems in the long run.
Most natural remedies are available over-the-counter so you don’t have to waste time going from one doctor to another just to receive a prescription for an antihistamine drug.
Natural allergy remedies do not only cure your allergies but also offer nutritional benefits to your body since they contain vitamins.
Here are some of the more common home remedies that have proven effective for relieving allergy symptoms:
1. Herbal teas for allergies are a natural way to provide relief during the allergy season.
Herbal teas not only provide soothing relief from allergies but also help replenish the nutrients that the body needs to combat infection and sustain good health.
Herbs also contain antioxidants, which help alleviate allergy symptoms by neutralizing free radicals in the body. Not only do herbal teas relieve allergies, but they also play a major role in providing relief from asthma and respiratory allergy.
Tea contains polyphenols and antioxidants, and these substances prevent free radical damage and the destruction of healthy cells.
These substances also boost the immune system and make it stronger to fight infections and illness.
Some herbs used for allergies include chamomile, Echinacea, ginger, lemon balm, peppermint, sage, thyme, ginkgo, milk thistle, red clover, stinging nettle, or yarrow
2. Nasal Irrigation for allergy – What is An Allergy and how is it Treated?
Nasal irrigation is the process of washing out your sinuses with salt water.
In treating allergies, saline nasal irrigation using a neti pot is the best non-pharmaceutical solution.
In a study, those who used a neti pot were able to reduce or eliminate their antihistamine use.
Saline nasal irrigation flushes allergens and irritants out of your sinuses and helps thin mucus so it can drain more easily.
It is a non-addicting, natural treatment that has been practiced for thousands of years.
Despite the fact that it’s been around for so long, many people have never heard of it, don’t know how to do it, or think it’s only for people with certain types of allergies.
3. Herbal Supplements for allergy
If you are suffering from an allergy, then you must be very much tired of this situation.
You want to live a healthy life but you cannot do it because of the allergy which is affecting your health badly. But now there is no need to worry about it. Use herbal supplements for allergies.
Herbal supplements for allergies are made by using natural herbs that have no side effects.
If you want to use them then there is no need to worry about anything else except that they should be selected like Allium or Euphrasia
4. Local Honey for allergy
Local honey is really good for allergies and asthma.
5. Close Windows for the treatment of allergy
If you have an allergy or know someone who does, then you know that the first step to take is to avoid the trigger. When the pollen count is high, close windows and take antihistamines.
The problem is that once you do this for a while, you get used to it. You start feeling stuffy and uncomfortable when windows are open. This is called “sensitization.”
There’s a lot we don’t know about sensitization, but we do know it happens:
if I stay in a room with an electric fan blowing on me all night long, I’ll be more sensitive to the cold the next day;
if I avoid peanuts for a while, then eat one and get sick, then avoid peanuts for another while and eat one again, the second time will be worse than the first.
If I’m sensitized to pollen and then eat a bag of nuts (which contain some pollen), will I react as badly as if I had eaten the whole bag at once?
Will eating half a bag make me twice as sick as eating a quarter bag?
No one knows for sure. But there’s no obvious reason why it should be less bad than eating an entire bag and quite a few reasons why it might be worse.
6. HEPA Filters for allergy treatment – What is An Allergy and how is it Treated?
HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air.” They are filters designed to remove tiny airborne particles.
Particle pollution isn’t an immediate health risk, but it can be a significant aggravation to people who already have respiratory problems. For them, it’s not just the number of particles they inhale, but also how small they are. The smaller the particles, the more likely they are to get into your lungs and make you sick.
You can find HEPA filters in any kind of air-cleaning device. If you have allergies, your doctor may recommend an air purifier.
Or if you live in a large city, you might just buy one to get rid of the smell of car exhaust.
It’s important to get an air purifier that has a HEPA filter because it is the only kind that can get rid of fine particles that are likely to be carrying allergens. What counts as a fine particle?
It depends on what you’re allergic to. Dust mites are too big for HEPA filtration systems to deal with, but pollen and pet dander are both in the right range.
7. Shower for allergy
A shower for allergies is one of the best things. It is well worth the money to try it. Allergy is an annoying condition. And to avoid allergies, many people are turning to showering.
The claimed benefit of a shower is that it removes pollen and other allergens from your hair and skin. The idea is that you get fewer allergens on you if they are washed off.
Taking a shower or bath for allergies can help to remove the allergens from the skin. It is a good idea to wash your hair with shampoo after taking a shower or bath for allergy.
The shampoo will remove the pollen from your hair, which will then prevent the allergens from getting into your eyes and nose.