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Allergies: Types, Triggers, Treatment and Prevention


Hamna Humail

18th Oct, 2020. 05:40 pm
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immune system

Allergies form as an immune system response to alien substances entering our body. The allergens aren’t necessarily harmful to our bodies. They include some foods, pollen or pet dander.

Depending on the foreign substance, the body response may include inflammation, sneezing or various other symptoms. The immune system perceives it as a trespasser threatening the body and attacks it.

The symptoms of various allergies are a result of several factors which are as follow:

Food allergies:

These can instigate swelling, hives, nausea, and fatigue among the many symptoms.

Seasonal allergies:

Allergic rhinitis symptoms may mimic those of a cold and include congestion, runny nose, and swollen eyes. These symptoms can usually be controlled using over-the-counter medicines. Seeing a physician is recommended if they get uncontrollable.

Severe allergies:

Anaphylaxis can be caused by extreme allergies. This leads to difficulty in breathing, lightheadedness and loss of consciousness. Everyone has a different reaction to allergies.

Skin allergies:

These allergies may develop as a result of exposure to an allergen. Eating foods one is allergic to can cause several symptoms such as tingling in the mouth and throat. The types of skin allergies include:

  • Rashes
  • Eczema
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Sore throat
  • Hives
  • Swollen eyes
  • Itching
  • Burning (of the skin)

What causes allergies?

Allergies can be passed down through genes, however, only general susceptibility to allergic reactions is genetic. Specific allergies aren’t passed down.

Common types of antigens include:

  • Animal products
  • Drugs
  • Foods
  • Insect stings
  • Mold
  • Plants
  • Latex

How can allergies be treated?

One should ideally stay away from what triggers their allergies. If that’s not possible the following treatments are available.

Medication

Various medicines can be taken to control symptoms. These can be prescribed or taken over the counter. The medications include:

  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl
  • Corticosteroids
  • Cetirizine also known as Zyrtec
  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Cromolyn sodium (Gastrocrom)
  • Decongestants
  • Leukotriene modifiers (Zyflo)

Singulair should only be given to patients in extreme cases as it has its side effects such as behavioral and mood changes.

Successful immunotherapy can prevent allergy symptoms from returning. This involves injections being given at regular intervals to help the body get accustomed to the allergy.

Epinephrine is a medication used in emergencies to treat serious allergic reactions until medical help arrives.

How can allergies be prevented?

There’s no prevention for allergies but one can stop the symptoms from occurring by avoiding allergens that are a trigger. If one is allergic to dust, symptoms can be reduced by installing air filters and dusting your surroundings regularly.

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