Causes of Allergies

1. What is Allergy ?

An allergy is an overreaction of your body's immune system to foreign substances in the
environment that are usually harmless to most people. These foreign substances that cause
such reactions are known as allergens.

2. What are the common allergens in the environment ?

Allergens are present both indoor and outdoor. Some of the common indoor allergens are dust
mites, pet dander, paint, or molds. It is often very difficult to escape any of these. Exposure to
these can trigger an allergic reaction, which can be called an indoor allergy.

The most common outdoor allergens are pollen, pollution and molds. The slightest exposure
to any of these allergens by a person suffering from outdoor allergy can easily trigger an
allergic reaction.

3. Who can develop an allergy?

Anyone can develop an allergy, irrespective of age, gender, race, or status. While allergies are
more commonly seen in children, they can occur for the first time at any age. Those who are
under 18 years of age or have a personal or family history of asthma or allergy are more prone
to develop allergies.

4.What are the symptoms of Allergy ? 

Some of the common symptoms of allergy are sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes,
coughing, sore throat, itching and rashes. Most of the allergies are not too severe and can be
treated, but some can be life-threatening like anaphylaxis and requires immediate medical
attention as it can cost them their life.

5. How do you know its an Anaphylaxis reaction?

Anaphylaxis  is the severest form of allergic reaction. It is a medical emergency and can be life
threatening. Anaphylaxis can develop quickly, with symptoms appearing within minutes or
hours of exposure to the allergen. The symptoms are more severe than in regular allergic
reactions, such as dizziness, fainting,weak pulse, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, nausea,
vomiting, cramping in the abdomen, trouble breathing, wheezingor cardiac arrest. Recognizing
these symptoms early and managing them aptly is very crucial.

6. Are there any Tests available to demonstrate allergy?

Yes. These are some of the few tests available to demonstrate allergy

  • Blood tests: To measure the levels of IgE antibodies to specific allergens
  • Skin prick tests: A doctor will prick your skin with a small amount of a possible allergen. If the skin reacts and becomes itchy, red, or swollen, the person may have an allergy.
  • Patch tests: Here a doctor may tape a metal disc with a small amount of a suspected allergen to the person’s back. They will check for a skin reaction 48 hours later, and then again after 2 days.

7. How to treat allergy ?

Despite its frequency and wide-spread reach, unfortunately allergies cannot be cured. But,
allergy management is possible. It is important to note that allergy medications do not cure
the allergy itself, they only ease the allergy symptoms. With proper care and precaution, one
can control the allergy symptoms and lead a normal and healthy life.

The best way to manage an allergy is to avoid the allergen, but this is not always possible. In
such cases, medical treatment can be taken. Some of the options include Antihistamines,
Decongestants , Corticosteroids, and Leukotriene receptor antagonists (antileukotrienes)
Immunotherapy can also help a person develop long-term tolerance to some allergens.

8. What are the measures to prevent allergic reaction ?

As we know already, there is no way to cure an allergy, but it is possible to prevent a reaction
or manage the symptoms if a reaction occurs.

Those at risk of an allergic reaction should:

  • Take measures to avoid exposure to known allergens.
  • Inform friends, relatives, colleagues, and others about the allergy
  • Consider carrying a medical identification card with details of the allergy.
  • Seek allergy testing to know which substances to avoid.
  • Keep house free of molds and dust
  • Make regular exercise a part of your routine

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