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An allergy is essentially the body’s reaction to a perceived danger. It is a chronic condition that causes an exaggerated reaction by the immune system in response to exposure to certain foreign substances.
These substances, known as allergens, are mainly harmless for non-allergic individuals and do not normally cause any bodily response, but for allergic individuals, the body recognizes these foreign substances as invaders. Subsequently, it triggers the immune system to generate an antibody response.
The modern study of allergies began in the 1800s when Dr. John Bostock described hay fever for the first time in history. This continues to be one of the most common allergic reactions, affecting approximately 15 million people in the United States.
In 1869, the first skin test for allergies was documented. In this examination, a small cut was made in the patient’s skin. After that, pollen was introduced in the skin to evaluate the possible response to ...
Allergies symptoms might vary from person to person, but they typically include itchy and runny nose and/or eyes, skin rashes, bowel irritation, and asthma.
The various symptoms related to the different types of allergies are listed below:
- Seasonal allergies symptoms can be itchy eyes, nose, or skin; runny nose and/or watery eyes. You may also experience rash, sneezing, nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing, or dark circles under the eyes.
- Food allergy symptoms can be nausea, stomach pain ...
An allergy occurs because the body overreacts to substances such as allergens that are usually harmless. However, some people might develop hypersensitivity to these substances over time, triggering an allergic reaction.
The different allergens are classified into the subcategories listed below:
Airborne allergens: such as pollen, dust, and mold.
Some foods: such as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, and milk.
Alongside the exposure to allergens, an allergic reaction can be also mediated by other factors such as genetics, environment, and diet.
Genetics: while allergies can develop at any age, the risk of developing allergies is related to genetics and family history of allergy. Research has found that if neither parent is allergic, the chance of having allergies is about 15%, but if one parent is allergic, the risk can increase to 30%. If both are allergic, the ...
The individual’s medical history is the most important part of diagnosing an allergy. It is crucial to gather information regarding the patient’s health, lifestyle, genetic predisposition, and symptoms.
Along with that, the doctor can use skin testing, as it is the gold standard allergy test. Another less preferred option is blood testing. Both these tests can analyze the patient’s reaction to a great variety of allergens like plant pollens, molds, dust mites, animal dander, insect stings, and various ...
According to conventional medicine, there are no cures for allergies. However, patients can take prescription drugs that focus on relieving allergy symptoms. Some of these drugs include:
- Antihistamines: antihistamines are medications used mainly for hay fever and other allergies. These medications counter the effects of histamines, substances made by the body to help the immune system fight invading bacteria or viruses. Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton are examples of antihistamines that relieve allergy symptoms but they can cause ...