What Are Allergies? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, And Facts

Allergies

You wake up in the morning. Brush your teeth, take a bath, and set off for work. While you’re on your way, you come across this really cute cafe with an array of delicious-looking snacks displayed. You end up buying it. And you are having a great day.

You take a bit. A few hours later, you end up at the hospital. And that is it! Your great day has come to an end. What went wrong? Was it the food? Was it the air? Were there any flowers near the cafe that may have slipped your mind?

The answer to all these questions is only one thing. Allergy.

What Are Allergies?

What Are Allergies?

You may have come across people with allergies, or you may yourself be an allergic person. But what is an allergy?

Allergies are the responses from the immune system to any kind of foreign substance that enters your body. These substances are, most of the time, not harmful to the body. However, the immune system of the body thinks of these substances as harmful invaders. This is the reason why they react to them.

The things that cause an allergy are known as allergens. They are materials that mean to cause no harm to the body. These harmless substances can be anything from milk to pollen. 

What Are Allergic Reactions?

What Are Allergic Reactions?

When the body reacts to the allergens, you can experience a chain of events. This will keep occurring till the immune system of the body has been successful in getting rid of it. These reactions are called allergic reactions.

An allergic reaction happens because when you are exposed to an allergen, the immune system of the body produces the allergic antibodies called the IgE. These antibodies find the allergens in the body and remove them from the system.

When this battle between the allergens and the allergic antibodies occurs, the immune system of the body releases a chemical which is called histamine. The reactions and the symptoms that you get to see as a result of the allergy (allergic reactions) are because of the effects of this chemical. 

Allergies: Causes

Allergies: Causes

What causes allergies are not yet known to researchers. Why does the body react a certain way to a few really harmless things? No one knows. The studies are still on.

However, what is known is the fact that it can be entirely genetic. This means that if you’re allergic to a certain item, some of your ancestors must have passed it down to you. Well, this is true in most cases.

But what about other allergies? There are a few specific allergies that are not passed down from one generation to the next generation. This is the host factor. These include our race, our heredity, and even our sex.

There are cases that have nothing to do with heredity. These are environmental factors. Pollution is one of the most common environmental factors for allergies.

There are a few things that cause allergies. These are the allergens. Some of these common allergens are:

  • Dust
  • Milk
  • Pollen
  • Food
  • Medication
  • Pets or animals
  • Plants
  • Latex 

Allergies: Types And Symptoms

Allergies: Types And Symptoms

The symptoms of an allergy are very similar to that of a cold or flu. However, they are different for different types of allergies. For example, if you have a food allergy, your body will react in a different way from if you have a dust allergy.

Some of the types of allergies and their symptoms are as follows:

1. Food Allergies

Food Allergies

There are many people who are allergic to certain food items. These can be milk, nuts, and sometimes our beloved potatoes.

The symptoms of food allergies include:

2. Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal Allergies

The seasonal allergies are also called hay fever. These are caused because of seasonal changes. When there is a change in season, the trees, weeds, and grasses release very tiny pollen in the air for fertilizing other plants.

The symptoms of hay fever are very similar to that of the common cold. They include: 

  • Congestion
  • Swollen eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Sneezing 

3. Pet Allergies

Pet Allergies

These are the allergic reactions that occur because of the proteins that are secreted by the sweat glands of the animals. These are found in the dander or flakes of the skin of the animals. They are also present in the fur.

Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Feeling nauseous

4. Dust And Pollen Allergies

Dust And Pollen Allergies

Dust allergies are mainly caused by dust mites. They are the tiny living organisms that are present in the dust. They can easily be found in household furniture and other objects. 

In the case of pollen allergies, the pollen from flowers and plants that float in the air can cause irritation and ultimately lead to allergic reactions.

If you have asthma or bronchitis, you must be extra careful as they can cause severe irritation. The symptoms of both allergies are similar.

The symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery nose and eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itchiness
  • Chest tightness

Allergies: Treatment

Allergies: Treatment

Allergies are generally harmless. However, for some people, they can become extreme. There have been cases of hospitalization because of severe allergic reactions.

Luckily there are treatments that can ease the pain. Some of the treatments are:

1. Immunotherapy

Also known as a therapy that includes allergy shots or oral treatment, it is recommended in cases when the allergic reaction goes out of control.

This is done when the symptoms cannot be controlled adequately, even with a combination of medication as well as avoidance measures. If done successfully, immunotherapy can also prevent allergy symptoms from coming back.

2. Medication

There are many medications that are available that deal with the symptoms of allergic reactions. Some of the ingredients that are available in these medicines are:

  • Corticosteroid
  • Cetirizine
  • antihistamine

3. Epinephrine

If you think that you have a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction, then you might be given the emergency epinephrine. These shots will counter the allergic reactions till you are medically assisted.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Are The 7 Allergy Symptoms?

Ans: The most common symptoms to see if you have an allergy are:
⦿ Sneezing
⦿ Runny nose
⦿ Rashes and itchy skin
⦿ Runny and itchy eyes
⦿ Shortness of breath
⦿ Pain in the abdomen
⦿ Diarrhea

2. What Are The Most Common Allergens?

Ans: People are allergic to a lot of things. However, the most common allergens are:
⦿ Pollen
⦿ Animals
⦿ Milk 
⦿ Insects
⦿ Medication
⦿ Dust
⦿ Nuts

3. What Are The Five Main Allergies?

Ans: The most common five types of allergies are milk allergy, animal allergy, dust allergy, pollen allergy, and medication allergy.

4. What Is The Number 1 Allergen?

Ans: It has been seen that the most common allergen in most people is milk. They are born lactose intolerant.

This means that when they drink milk or anything that has milk in it (precisely the lactic acid), it causes them moderate to severe pain in their abdomen. They feel nauseous and may even vomit.

5. How Long Do Allergies Last?

Ans: How long your allergic reaction lasts totally depends on what type of allergy you have. If you have a pollen allergy or dust allergy, you might experience the reaction from a few minutes to a few hours.

If you are allergic to milk, or you are lactose intolerant, then you might experience diarrhea or vomiting for a few hours or a day.

6. Can You Test For Allergies At Home?

Ans: If you want to test for allergies at home, you can simply call the diagnostic center and ask them to send someone to collect your blood samples.

You can also use a lancet to prick your finger a little for a few drops of blood. Once you collect this blood in a tube that has been provided by the test company, you can just mail it back to them. All you need to do then is just wait.

7. How Do I Know If I Have Allergies Or Covid?

Ans: Many people who have certain types of allergies do not realize when they have covid. This is because the symptoms of both of these are very similar to each other.

However, unless you have milk allergies, you will not have diarrhea. This is something that most covid cases have experienced. The loss of smell or taste when you have flu or allergy is very mild. But in the case of covid, there is a complete loss of these two senses.

Living the life!

If you are someone who is living with allergies, kudos to you!

Even though most of the time, allergies are not a condition that can threaten your life, they can be extremely;y irritating and tiring. They also make the body extremely weak.

There are a lot of varieties of allergies. They can be seasonal allergies, skin allergies, milk allergies, or even cat or dog allergies. Most allergies are manageable and can easily be avoided.

All you need to do is be aware of the surroundings. If you think that there is something in the room (like a flower if you have a pollen allergy) that you may be allergic to, please ask someone to remove it. Or, if someone has offered you something to eat, feel free to ask them if there is something in that food that you may be allergic to.

Work with your doctor or physician who knows about your history; they can help you to deal with the situation. If there are major complications, they can even help reduce that. Doing this will make life much more enjoyable for you.

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