Allergies are an overreaction of the body’s natural defence, the immune system, that helps fight infections. The immune system normally protects the body from viruses and bacteria by producing antibodies to fight them. In an allergic reaction, the immune system starts fighting substances that are usually harmless such as dust mites, pollen or a medicine as though these substances were trying to attack the body. This overreaction can cause a rash, itchy eyes, a runny nose, trouble breathing, nausea, and diarrhea.
In a very simple term, an allergy is a disturbance or a reaction that affects any persons when things they are sensitive or allergic to are breathed in, eaten, injected or touch their skin. An allergy is not actually an infection and cannot be passed from one person to another. However, children of allergic parents also tend to have allergies. Most often allergic person suffers more in some certain seasons or whenever they come in contact with the very substances that bother them. Some allergic reaction that can be mild and very serious includes;
- Itching rashes, lumpy patches or hives
- Running nose or burning eyes
- Irritation in the throat, difficult breathing or asthma
- Allergic shock
- Diarrhea in children caused by milk allergy
CAUSES OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS
Allergic reactions are caused by allergens. An allergen is a substance capable of causing an allergic reaction. Some of the common causes of allergic reactions includes the following; pollen of certain flowers and grasses, chicken feather, dust, kapok or feather pillows, certain medicines, hair from cats or other animals, some specific foods, bats, moldy blankets or clothes.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
Family history: Someone is at increased risk of food allergies if asthma, eczema, hives or allergies such as hay fever are common in their family.
Other allergies: If someone is already allergic to one food or the other, he or she may be at increased risk of becoming allergic to another. Similarly, if you have other types of allergic reactions such as hay fever or eczema, the fact is that your risk of having a food allergy is higher.
Age: Food allergies are more common in children, especially toddlers and infants. As you grow older, your digestive system matures and your body is less likely to absorb food or food components that trigger allergies. Fortunately, children typically outgrow allergies to milk, soy, wheat and eggs. Severe allergies and allergies to nuts and shellfish may be lifelong.
Asthma: Asthma and food allergy commonly occur together. When they do, both food allergy and asthma symptoms are more likely to be severe.
HOW TO PREVENT ALLERGIC REACTIONS
Once you have had an allergic reaction, it’s important and crucial to identify the source to avoid future contact. For ingredient-specific allergies, make sure you check product ingredients before buying it. Always bear in mind that the more control you keep over your contact with allergens, the less likely you will have an allergic reaction. Make sure your co-workers and friends know about your allergies and where you keep your epinephrine auto-injector in case of necessity. Finally, teaching your friends how to treat an allergic reaction can help save a life.
For more info, visit your physician.