Your Allergy Guide

What is Allergy?

An allergy is a chronic condition, which causes the immune system to become hypersensitive to anything it is exposed. The reasons that cause allergies usually have little or no threat to most people and in fact cause no threat to those who are allergic to them apart from the threat caused by the response of the immune system itself.

What Causes Allergy?

Allergies are generally developed due to either host or environmental factors:

  1. Host factors:
    • Sex.
    • Race.
    • Age.
    • Genetic factors.
  2. Environmental factors:
    • Environmental pollution.
    • Lifestyle.
    • Dietary changes.
    • Exposure to infectious diseases, particularly in early childhood.

The mechanism of an allergic reaction:

  • The underlying cause of an allergic reaction is the immunoglobulin E antibody. This is part of the body’s immune system, which normally binds to threats and then sticks to an immune system receptor to alert the body about the presence of any kind of threat.
  • The body’s response is generally to release histamine, which inflames the area where the threat has been sensed so that it can be eradicated. This can cause excessive inflammation, which can be dangerous, causing a range of symptoms that include rashes, runny nose, swelling and difficulty breathing normally.

Most common allergens:

  • Pollen (hay fever).
  • Foods, most notably peanuts.
  • Insect stings.
  • Metals.
  • Chemicals.
  • Latex.

How to treat an allergy?

You can seek advice from your doctor to help you with the counselling, advice you about the ways of avoiding the allergens and how to treat the allergic reaction. The most common medical treatment for an allergic reaction is an antihistamine, which counters the excess histamine being released in the sufferer’s body.

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