The immune system helps the body run efficiently in our day-to-day life. A healthy body is the result of good metabolism and catabolism. But our immune system can face some disturbances or react to foreign substances. 

What Are Allergies?

The human body's immune system shows multiple reactions to the environment. Allergies are one of the symptoms or reactions shown to any disturbances or reactions shown by the immune system. 

Our immune system attacks groups of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. In some cases, it doesn't fight, but it makes the person uncomfortable or sick. An allergic reaction can be due to pollen, dust, food, or mold.

Causes For Allergies:

Allergies are caused when a person consumes or breathes unwanted substances into his body or substances that disturb the surfaces of the skin. It can be either through direct contact or indirect contact. 

The sensitivity or resistance to allergy-causing substances varies from person to person. Generally, people will have allergies to certain food substances and are also found with asthma. It is said that these allergic reactions arise in relation to the antibody produced by the body to those substances. 

A person's general symptoms when he comes in contact with the allergen are itching nose, sneezing, coughing, runny nose and sometimes nausea. In severe cases, it may also lead to a condition called anaphylaxis, where there is the presence of severe allergic reactions. Most common examples of allergens to which the immune system reacts include the following list:

  • Household dust
  • Mites, spiders
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Animal urine or oil from the skin
  • Certain Food items
  • Medicine
  • Bee stings
  • Feathers
  • Cockroach
  • Lizard
  • Certain Vegetables and fruits
  • Certain plans like latex
  • Certain smells
  • Pet dander from dogs or cats
  • Certain medications, such as penicillin and aspirin

Symptoms Of Allergic Reactions: 

Every immune system reacts differently to the allergens or substances it comes in contact with. The allergic symptoms can be found on any body part or organs, including the eyes, nose, mouth, sinuses, and throat, where the allergen goes into direct contact. Some of the common symptoms observed in allergic reactions include the following.

Mild Reaction:

  • Redness, itchy and watering eyes
  • Red-coloured, itchy and dehydrated skin
  • Itchy and runny noses
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Itchy ears and mouth
  • Asthma symptoms, such as struggling to breathe, coughing and slow breath
  • Itchy rashes or warts on the skin

Severe Reaction:

  • Swelling of the face, eyes, or tongue
  • Difficulty in swallowing or breathing
  • Abdominal cramps or pain
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Flushing of the face
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Unconsciousness
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Wheezing

These allergic reactions can be seen in people of any age or gender. It solely depends on the functioning of the immune system, like how it fights against germs and dust and how it reacts to each allergen (foreign substances).

How To Diagnose Allergies? 

If your body or immune system shows abnormal reactions to any substance, the first step is to approach your doctor to diagnose what is happening. In case+, if you have any allergy, the doctor may do one of the following tests to diagnose it.

  • Skin test: It is the commonly used test for allergy diagnosis for any skin allergy. In this test, the person is treated or scratched with the allergen, and the production of antibodies to the allergen is measured. If the person is allergic to that allergen, the skin or the surface may give an itchy feeling within 15 minutes. Another test is the injection of the allergen into the skin and observing how the immune system works or reacts to it. Again, these skin test results can be seen within a short period.
  • Blood test: A blood test is also carried out to measure the antibodies, such as immunoglobulin, to the allergens. The most used test is RAST, a Radioallergosorbent Test; the advanced level is the ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) test. However, this test takes time and is expensive compared to the skin test for diagnosing allergies to the body. 
  • Challenge test: In this test, the person is asked to swallow the allergen or eat the food to know the allergic reaction. This test is done when we are not sure about the symptoms shown by the allergens.

How To Treat Allergies? 

The treatments for allergies depend on the age, immune system and how severe the allergy has affected the person. It also counts the affected person's general health. Generally, two ways are followed to treat allergies: medicines and allergy shots. 

Allergy shots treat people who have asthma, conjunctivitis, or hay fever. A mixture is made and is given weekly until the maximum dose is reached for the person. Most people will get clear with this treatment. It can be immunotherapy, but it takes time, and the person must continue his allergy medications.

The most advanced alternative to allergy shots is one of the immunotherapy treatments called Sublingual immunotherapy. This can be done daily at home using the mouth. But now, it has been made available for only a few allergens. 

Medicines are also made available. However, depending on the symptoms, these can be nasal sprays, ointments for itches and rashes, or oral medications. 

Final Thoughts: 

Our responsibility is to keep ourselves hygienic and have strong immune systems. We should boost our immunity to fight against germs, dust, and other allergens. Preventive measures against allergens are also crucial.

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