Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Causes Symptoms and Treatment of Allergy

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What is an allergy, what causes it? 
Our immune system is there to protect us against infections and when germs enter our body it reacts to it and eliminates it. But in some people, their immune system starts to react against harmless environmental particles, which cause allergies. When it reacts against food particles we get food allergies, when it reacts against particles we inhale, we get asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Some food and inhalant allergens can cause eczema, which is an itchy rash that develops mainly behind knees and elbows. Some people are allergic to insect stings (fire ants, wasps, bees etc…) 
Allergens are everywhere – the dustmite faeces in your cotton pillow or the clump of pollen riding on the breeze will do it for some. For others, the shrimp in their omelette or the sweet flesh of a woodapple are enough to trigger severe allergic reactions. 
The symptoms come in a variety equal to the allergens themselves – some of us will sneeze till we’re dizzy, others will burst into hives. We’ll scratch and vomit and struggle to breathe. A rare few might even find themselves near death. 
Different types of Allergies 
Food Allergies

These are very common allergies, especially in childhood, and it's important to identify them early on because some of them can be serious, and even deadly. The most common foods people are allergic to are: nuts, certain fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, and other animal products, and finally, gluten.
Seasonal Allergies 
By far the most common allergies, but also some of the less damaging in terms of their effects. Hay fever is the most common symptom, and according to U.S. statistics, over 4 million workdays are lost each year due to the effects of seasonal allergies. They occur during changes in seasons and as a result of quick change in climate.
Pet Allergies
This allergy is commonly caused by dog and ca t fur. It can cause serious symptoms like wheezing, itching, tearing of the eyes, and rashes. Many individuals are allergic to their pets and may not even know it.
Plant Allergies
These are less common and are usually caused by the pollen that plants give off. Some of the most common plants people are allergic to are ragweed, cedar trees, and some forms of grass.
Allergies to Chemicals 
Every year, more and more people become allergic to certain beauty products, cleaning materials, and even processed foods due to the industrial chemicals that are added to them.
10 Allergy-Indicating Symptoms 
1. A Runny Nose
 When your nose starts to run uncontrollably you either have a cold, or an allergy. The difference between how you feel when you've come down with a cold, and how you feel when you have an allergy is usually noticeable in that with an allergy you will experience constant sneezing, while with a cold it is more controlled. You may also begin to experience what is called 'post nasal drip', which means the liquid in your sinuses drips down your windpipe, causing an annoying itching feeling in the back of your throat.
If children experience this symptom in the spring or fall, it's usually a sign that they have seasonal allergies. In which case it's advisable to contact a doctor for proper testing and care.
2. Under-Eye Bags 
When you get dark circles under your eyes regardless of how long you sleep at night, this is a sign that you may have an allergy. Usually, the dark circles are accompanied by red, itchy, and watery eyes. Many of these symptoms can be relieved with a good dose of antihistamines, but if the symptoms still remain, it's important to consult a doctor to see if the allergy is more serious.
3. Chronic Congestion 
If your sinuses are congested on a regular basis, meaning longer than just the duration of a common cold, this could be a sign that you have seasonal, plant, or animal related allergies. During allergic reactions to these triggers, the lining of the nasal passage can swell and produce extra mucus that leaves your nose feeling blocked. This blockage can cause painful sinus pressure between your brows or headaches.
While decongestants can provide you with short-term relief, its best to consult a doctor to see if there is a better solution for the long-run.
4. Itchy Skin 
 Although itching may just be a sign of dry skin, if it doesn't disappear after applying lotions and other creams, it is most likely that you have some form of allergy. Itchy skin can be a reaction to soaps, detergents, pets, certain foods, and other materials. A short-term solution is to take an antihistamine or apply a chamomile moisturizer that will soothe the skin. For stronger solutions, it's worthwhile asking your doctor for a hydro cortisone prescription or other medications.
5. Wheezing 
One of the most common allergy symptoms, the act of wheezing, or feeling short of breath, can also be a symptom of a more serious condition known as asthma. However, if you don't have a history of asthma, it's worthwhile considering that you may have some sort of allergy. Wheezing is characterized by a whistling sound when you breathe, which is caused by the narrowing of your airways.
Wheezing can be very serious, especially if you are physically active on a regular basis. Therefore, if you have this symptom, you should contact a health professional or allergist immediately.
6. Hives
Hives are never a good sign. Hives are red patches on the skin that usually itch or even hurt and can last anywhere from several hours to several days. They can be the result of an allergic reaction to certain foods, medications or even insect bites, but once you get them, it's imperative to treat them. An antihistamine will give you relief in the meantime, but if they return, you may need more thorough treatment, like steroids.
7. Insomnia
This is one of the most dreaded conditions, but you may not know that it can also be a sign that you are allergic to something. Usually, allergy-related insomnia is the result of constant sneezing, itching, coughing, or wheezing that will keep you up and make it hard to fall asleep. 
 Either you can't sleep at all, or you sleep too much. Fatigue can occur as the result of your insomnia, or as a side effect of medicine you are taking. The allergies themselves can also cause fatigue, a common symptom for those with food or pet related allergies. Try purchasing antihistamines that are non-drowsy, and if they still don't work, consult your doctor for further help and testing.
9. Trouble Concentrating 
We all have difficulty concentrating sometimes, but those with an allergy can suffer from attention disorders as a result of their bothersome symptoms or the medication they take. If you feel that your personal or professional life is being affected by your allergies, it's advisable to contact your doctor and discuss other available options for treatment besides antihistamine medications.
10. Depression 
Allergies can really take over your life. If they are not cared for, they can make you sleepless, tired, hungry, angry, and eventually depressed. Recent research points to a connection between allergies and extreme mood changes, such as depression, and this time it's most likely not the medication's fault.
Although some of these symptoms are more prominent in certain locations than others, it's good to know what to look out for, so, in case you think you might have one, you can receive the proper treatment as swiftly as possible.

Treatment for Allergies:
Medication for Allergies
When you cannot avoid allergens, there are many medicines that can help control allergy symptoms. Decongestants and antihistamines are the most common allergy medications. They help to reduce a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing and itching. Other medications work by preventing the release of the chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Corticosteroids are effective in treating inflammation in your nose.

An allergist will work with you to determine which medicines are best for you and how often and how much of them you should take—while eliminating or minimizing any side effects.
Allergy shots
Allergy shots are the most commonly used and most effective form of allergy immunotherapy. They are indicated for the treatment of allergic conditions affecting the nose and eyes (allergic rhino-conjunctivitis), ears (allergic otitis media), lungs (bronchial asthma) as well as for severe insect sting allergy. Shots are effective in treating reactions to many allergens, including mold, house dust, animal dander, and insect stings.
An extract of a small amount of the allergen is injected into the skin of the arm. An injection may be given once a week (sometimes more often) for about seven months, after which injections can be administered every two weeks. Eventually, injections can be given every four weeks. The duration of therapy may be three to five years, sometimes longer.

The allergist treats asthma and allergies

An allergist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and other allergic diseases. The allergist is specially trained to identify the factors that trigger asthma or allergies. Allergists help people treat or prevent their allergy problems. After earning a medical degree, the allergist completes a three-year residency-training program in either internal medicine or pediatrics. Next the allergist completes two or three more years of study in the field of allergy and immunology. You can be certain that your doctor has met these requirements if he or she is certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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