An Allergy is an abnormal reaction to a substance by the body’s defense system (immune system). Allergies can develop at any age. An allergic reaction happens when the immune system mistakenly reacts to a normally harmless substance, called an allergen, as if it were harmful. The immune system releases antibodies to fight the substance. Antibodies eventually release a chemical called histamine into the bloodstream. The release of the histamine is meant to protect the body from infection but it also causes discomfort.
An allergic reaction can be caused triggered by:
- Eating an allergen
- Inhaling an allergen
- Touching an allergen
There are many types of allergies Common types include:
- Seasonal allergies. People with this type of allergy are usually allergic to substances that are only present during certain seasons, such as mold and pollens.
- Food allergies
- Drug allergies
- Insect allergies
- Animal dander allergies
Follow are possible symptoms of allergies:
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, mouth or throat
- Sneezing, coughing, or wheezing
- Nasal Congestion
- Tingling in the mouth
- Itchy, red swollen areas of skin (hives)
- Watery eyes
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Chest tightness
- Rapid heartbeat
Allergies are diagnosed with a medical and family history and one or more of the following:
- Skin tests
- Blood tests
- A food diary A food diary is a record of all the foods and drinks you have in a day and all of the symptoms you experience.
How are allergies treated?
There is no cure for allergies, but allergic reactions can be treated with medicine. Severe reactions usually need to be treated at a hospital.
How can reactions be prevented?
The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is by avoiding the substance you are allergic to. Allergy shots and medicines can also help prevent reactions in some cases. People with severe allergic reactions may be able to prevent a life threatening reaction called anaphylaxis with a medicine given right after exposure to the allergen.