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What Is an Allergy?

Wondering what is an allergy and when should I see the best allergy doctor near me? Different Types Of Allergies and Seasonal Allergy Symptoms And Treatment can be a daunting query. Let’s learn a bit more about allergies in general. An allergy is the response of the immune system to substances that are not particularly harmful to the body. Allergies are caused by the hypersensitivity of the immune system to substances that cannot harm the body. Examples of allergies include atopic dermatitis, hay fever, food allergies, asthma, anaphylaxis and so on. The function of the immune system is to keep us healthy and well protected from harmful substances and organisms. The immune system carries out this function by attacking whatever it perceives as dangerous to the body. The response of the immune system to these materials usually causes different symptoms.

Some of these symptoms include sneezing, difficulty in breathing, swelling, edema of the larynx, and so on. Examples of materials that could trigger allergic reactions include pollen, smoke, dust, food, insect stings, medications and so on. Allergies occur due to two main factors. These are environmental and genetic factors. Physicians diagnose this condition based on the signs and symptoms presented by the patient. However, they might also carry out some more tests, to confirm the diagnosis. Some of the ways of preventing allergy are by exposing potential allergens to people early in their life. There are also medications that help to suppress the immune system. They include steroids and antihistamines. In severe cases, adrenaline is administered.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Allergies?

Allergies usually develop and present within a short period of time. Patients present with signs and symptoms some minutes after exposure to an allergen. The signs and symptoms depend on the type of allergy involved. However, there are some general signs and symptoms presented by patients. Examples of these include the following;

  • Allergic rhinitis: Allergic rhinitis is also known as hay fever. It is a common symptom of allergy that involves the inflammation in the nose. This occurs when the immune system becomes hypersensitive to some allergens in the air. Affected persons do present with symptoms such as red eyes, sneezing, swollen eyes, watery eyes and so on. The nose also produces a clear fluid. Patients start presenting with symptoms few minutes after inhaling these allergens. Examples of allergens that could induce allergic rhinitis to include materials like pollen, dust, mold, wools of animals and so on. As earlier mentioned, there are two main factors that contribute to the development of allergic rhinitis. These are genetics and the environment. Studies have shown that people that grow up on a farm usually do have a low risk of developing allergic rhinitis. Physicians diagnose this disease by examining the signs and symptoms of the patient. In addition, skin prick test could also be done. However, this test isn’t always accurate. This disease might be difficult to diagnose. This is because of its similarities with the common However, allergic rhinitis does persist for more than 2 weeks, and it isn’t associated with fever. You should consult your physician if you notice some of the symptoms. They do treat this disease by administering medications such as steroids, antihistamines like cromolyn sodium, leukotriene receptor antagonists like montelukast and so on although medications are effective in improving the symptoms. Exposing the patient to more and more amounts of allergens have been proven to be effective. Physicians might administer the allergen through subcutaneous injection, or as tablets. This kind of treatment could last for as long as 5 years.
  • Conjunctivitis: This is one of the most common symptoms of an allergy. It’s a condition in which there is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. This disease makes the eyes red. The patient may complain of pains, burns, and itchiness in the eyes. The eyes might also be become swollen. Conjunctivitis could be caused by a lot of things. Some of these include the irritation of the eyes, infections and so on. Viral infection is the most common infection of the eyes, followed by bacteria. Other factors that could lead to conjunctivitis include allergies. People often react to materials like pollen, animal hair, and so on. Physicians diagnose the disease by evaluating the signs and symptoms presented by the patient. This disease can be prevented by avoiding the allergens, and also washing the eyes frequently. Physicians treat the disease based on the cause. Conjunctivitis caused by viral infections do not have a specific treatment. Also, a bacterial infection also resolves naturally in less than a week. However, antibiotic eye drops are also effective, in case it doesn’t resolve in a week. Conjunctivitis caused by allergy can be treated by using antihistamines or mast cell inhibitor eye drops.
  • Shortness of breath: This occurs mostly because of the inflammation in the larynx. This mainly occurs as a response to the allergic processes. Other conditions that are associated with this disease include wheezing, tightening of the chest, cough and so on.
  • Hives: This condition is also known as urticaria. It presents with symptoms such as skin rash, itchiness of the skin and redness of the skin. Hives usually last for a few days, then they resolve. However, there are cases that do last for more 6 weeks. This allergic condition mostly occurs after an allergic reaction such as insect bites, consumption of food, stress, certain types of temperature and so on. There are some factors that also increase the risk of developing urticaria. These factors include asthma and hay fever. Hives can be prevented by avoiding materials that could trigger an allergic reaction. Physicians treat this allergic reaction by administering antihistamines such as ranitidine. In severe cases, drugs such as corticosteroid
  • Skin changes such as raised, red rash and itchy skin.
  • Abdominal symptoms: Patients might present with abdominal problems such as abdominal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea and so on.

                            

What Are The Causes Of Allergic Reactions?

There are two main factors involved in the development of allergy. These factors include host and environmental. Examples of host factors include genetics, gender, race, and age. Studies have shown that a lot of allergies are inherited from parents. On the other hand, examples of environmental factors include infections, various types of pollution, food, and so on.

What Are The Types Of Allergy?

There are various types of allergies. Some of them include food allergy, seasonal allergy, latex allergy, allergy to medication, insect bite allergy, skin allergy, allergy to mold and so on.  Read on to find out more about different types of allergies and seasonal allergy symptoms and treatment.

1.Food Allergy: This is a type of allergy that is caused by a reaction to some specific food materials. Examples of food that people mostly react to include milk, eggs, fish, peanuts and so on. According to studies, the most common food allergy in the United States is crustacean. Other allergies that have become prominent for their severe symptoms include peanut. This type of allergy also occurs in combination with other conditions. An example of this is asthma. It has been noticed that some children tend to outgrow some allergies. An example of this is peanut and egg allergies. A lot of children also develop an allergy to Some of the signs and symptoms of food allergy include eczema, itching in the mouth, abdominal discomfort, lightheadedness, swelling of the face, the lip, throat, nausea, vomiting and so on. It’s important to go see a physician when you notice these symptoms. You should go for emergency treatment if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Abnormally elevated pulse.
  • Lightheadedness
  • Narrowing of the airways that makes breathing difficult.
  • Severe and rapid drop in the blood pressure.

Some of the risk factors of an allergy include the following:

  • Family history: An individual with a family history of food allergy have a high risk of also developing the same allergy.
  • Age: Food allergy mostly occurs in children. However, they tend to outgrow the disease, especially as their digestive system becomes more mature.
  • Asthma: Studies have shown that food allergy and asthma go hand in hand. This is usually severe when it happens.
  • Other types of allergy: People that have an allergy to a type of food, do have a high risk of also developing allergies to other kinds of allergy. This includes eczema and so on.

The best way to prevent food allergies is by avoiding the food that could trigger the allergic reaction. Wearing a tag that shows the what you’re allergic also helps greatly. It’s also useful to have a physician give you an epinephrine auto-injector, that can be used in cases of emergency. Overall, you should consult an allergist if you notice you might have an allergy.

2.Seasonal allergies: Seasonal allergies are the type that mainly occur in a particular type of season. An example of seasonal allergy is hay fever. This disease occurs when the immune system is hypersensitive to allergens such as pollen from plants, trees, and Hay fever is usually less common during winter. Some of the signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies include sneezing, ear congestion, runny nose, watery and itchy eyes and so on. The first step in the management of this condition is to avoid pollens. In addition, you can also wear a dust mask when outside, and in dusty environments. In cases where you can’t avoid allergens, there are some medications that could help improve the symptoms. Some of the drugs include decongestants and antihistamines. Others include steroid nasal sprays.

3.Skin Allergies: Skin allergies, also known as contact dermatitis, is a condition that occurs when the immune system thinks the body is under attack. As a result of this, the immune system sends out antibodies to fight off the foreign bodies. This immune reaction leads to different things. Some of the symptoms include the development of a red, itchy rash on the skin. Examples of materials that could trigger this disease include chemicals, fragrances and so on. Other materials that could trigger this kind of reaction also include powders, fumes, fibers and so on. This disease mostly affects the head. Other places that are usually affected include the neck and the eyelids. This disease is often difficult for physicians to diagnose, mainly because it shares a lot of similarities with other diseases. Below are some of the common causes of skin allergies:  Read on to find out more about different types of allergies and seasonal allergy symptoms and treatment.

  • Powders
  • Fragrances
  • Topical medicines: These are medications that are applied on the screen.
  • Latex: Examples of latex include gloves, condoms and so on.
  • Chemicals
  • Sunscreens

The best method of treating this disease is by preventing it from happening. Some of the ways of doing this are by identifying what you react to and avoiding contact with it. Another way is by neglecting the urge to scratch your skin, especially when it itches you. There are some home remedies that have proved effective over the years. Examples of these include hydrocortisone cream, antihistamines, calamine lotion, cold compress, and so on. Overall, it’s important to speak to your allergist, about the best way to manage and eliminate the skin condition. Your doctor may refer you to the best dermatologist near me if another skin condition is suspected.

4.Severe allergies [Anaphylaxis]: Anaphylaxis is a severe case of allergic reaction. This condition if not promptly well managed and treated can lead to death. Some of the symptoms of anaphylaxis include swelling of the throat, difficulty in breathing, lightheadedness, hypotension, rash and so on. The signs and symptoms associated with severe allergy develop Some of the common causes of anaphylaxis include medications, insect bites, food, exercise and exposure to chemicals. Anaphylaxis affects the different systems of the body. Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of the condition:

  • Skin: Some of the skin symptoms that patients affected with anaphylaxis present with include redness, flushing of the skin. The skin might also become swollen. The throat of the patient might also become swollen. This eventually causes difficulty in breathing and might lead to death, if not rapidly treated. Other conditions that are associated with anaphylaxis include conjunctivitis, runny nose and so on.
  • Respiratory system: The respiratory system is one of the most commonly affected by anaphylaxis. Patients do present with difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and a constriction of the respiratory airway. This occurs mostly because of the spasm of the bronchial muscles. Other conditions associated with anaphylaxis include hoarseness, difficulty in swallowing, cough and so on. You should call for help if you notice these symptoms.
  • Cardiovascular system: In the case of anaphylaxis, patients experience a reduction in the heart rate, and also hypotension. This might cause the patient to present with symptoms such as lightheadedness, loss of consciousness, and so on. Other conditions that are associated with this type of allergic reaction include the spasm of the coronary artery, cardiac arrest, dysrhythmia and so on.
  • Gastrointestinal system: Anaphylaxis also affects the digestive system. Some of the signs and symptoms presented by affected persons include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and so on.
  • Neurological system: Patients might also present with confusion. Other symptoms that could be presented by affected persons include a headache, uterine cramps, pain in the pelvic region and so on.

Physicians diagnose this condition by examining the signs and symptoms presented by the patient. Anaphylaxis is an emergency case, and most patients do require resuscitation such as airway management, supplemental oxygen, intravenous fluids and so on. Epinephrine combined with steroids and antihistamines is the most effective treatment plan for this condition. You should consult your allergist for the proper management of your allergy. This would prevent conditions such as anaphylaxis from happening. Read on to find out more about different types of allergies and seasonal allergy symptoms and treatment.

5.Drug Allergies: This is a condition that occurs as a result of the abnormal reaction of the immune system to medications. This could range from herbal drugs to over-the-counter medications. Any type of drug is capable of causing an allergy. This allergy could also become so severe that it leads to anaphylaxis. Some of the signs and symptoms of drug allergies include fever, body rash, itching, swelling, shortness of breath, watery eyes, runny nose and so on. Anaphylaxis is a severe and life-threatening reaction to drug allergy. This medical condition affects most of the organ systems of the body. Anaphylaxis can lead to death within a short time, if not promptly well managed. Other conditions that can occur as a result of drug allergies include serum sickness, inflammation of the kidney, drug-induced anemia, and so on. Some of the symptoms of anaphylaxis include swelling of the throat, difficulty in breathing, lightheadedness, hypotension, rash and so on. The signs and symptoms associated with severe allergy develop rapidly. Some of the common causes of anaphylaxis include medications, insect bites, food, exercise and exposure to chemicals. Anaphylaxis affects the different systems of the body. Some of the common medications that elicit allergy include drugs used for the treatment of cancer, drugs for the treatment for autoimmune disease, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and antibiotics such as penicillin and so on. You should consult your allergist for the proper management of your allergy. This would prevent conditions such as anaphylaxis from happening.

6.Asthma: Asthma is a condition in which the airways constrict and produce an excess amount of mucus. This changes in the airways make it difficult to breathe. Persons affected with this condition do present with symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. This is a chronic disease, and the episodes might occur several times per day, or in a week, depending on the severity of the disease. The main factors that contribute to the development of this disease include genetics and environmental factors. Examples of environmental factors include air pollutants such as smoke, dust and so on. Other examples of environmental factors that could trigger asthma episodes include medications such as aspirin and beta blockers. Physicians diagnose this disease by evaluating the signs and symptoms presented by the patient. Other tests that are done to confirm the disease include spirometry and the response time of the patient to treatment. Asthma has no cure yet, however, medications are given to improve the symptoms of the disease and to also to prevent asthma episodes from happening. Some of the medications physicians administer for the treatment of this disease include corticosteroids, long and short-acting beta agonists. In severe cases, magnesium sulfate might also be used.

  • Signs and symptoms of asthma: Some of the signs and symptoms of asthma include tightening of the chest, difficulty in breathing, wheezing and coughing and so on. Read on to find out more about different types of allergies and seasonal allergy symptoms and treatment.

What Are the Signs That Your Asthma Is Getting Worse?

Some of the things you would notice if your asthma is getting includes the following:

  • Asthma episodes become more frequent and worrying.
  • It becomes more difficult to breathe.
  • Patients tend to make use of their inhaler more often.

What Are the Risk Factors of Asthma?

There are some risk factors that increase the risk of developing asthma. Examples of these factors include the following:

  • Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of developing asthmatic episodes. Smoke could be a trigger for this disease.
  • Overweight and obesity: Studies have shown that people that are obese and overweight are more likely to develop asthma.
  • Fumes: Constant exposure to fumes from cars, industries increase the risk of developing asthma.
  • Other allergic reactions: Studies have shown that other allergic conditions also increase the risk of developing asthma.
  • Family history: People with a family history of asthma have a high risk of developing asthma.

7.Eye allergies: Eye allergies are also known as allergic conjunctivitis. These conditions occur as a result of the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inner part of the eyelid. This disease occurs as a result of the reaction of the eyes to allergens. These allergens could be outdoor or indoor. Examples of such allergens include pollens, smoke, chemicals, fragrances, and so on. People often react to materials like pollen, animal hair, and so on. Physicians diagnose the disease by evaluating the signs and symptoms presented by the patient. This disease can be prevented by avoiding the allergens, and also washing the eyes frequently. Physicians treat the disease based on the cause. Conjunctivitis caused by viral infections do not have a specific treatment. Also, a bacterial infection also resolves naturally in less than a week. However, antibiotic eye drops are also effective, in case it doesn’t resolve in a week. Conjunctivitis caused by allergy can be treated by using antihistamines or mast cell inhibitor eye drops.

Different Types Of Allergies and Seasonal Allergy Symptoms And Treatment

It’s important to consult an allergist if you notice any symptoms of allergy so you can receive proper treatment and prevention.

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References

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Journal search results – Cite This For Me. (2006). Allergy & Clinical Immunology International – Journal of the World Allergy Organization, 18(03), pp.136-136.