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All You Need to Know About An Allergy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Allergies are essentially a reaction by the immune system to some kind of substance or chemical that is usually considered to be harmless. The substance causing the reaction to develop is known as the allergen and anything can potentially be an allergen. Some of the more common allergens include dust, pollen, medications, plants and insect bites. The reactions may occur in an isolated spot where the allergen touched the skin or may break out into a rash all over the body.

Facts About Allergies

Though food allergies are very common, it is important to remember that food intolerance and food allergy are two very different medical problems. Food intolerance is a problem affecting the digestive system while the allergy is more of an autoimmune response. In most cases, identifying a specific allergen will take a little time as different combinations are tried in order to identify which one triggers the reaction - thereby requiring a significant amount of patience to ascertain. Allergies are known to run in families so learning about your family medical history might go a long way into helping you identify the root cause of the allergy. Given the fact that allergies are such a common occurrence, there are a number of facts about allergies that can be researched through the various sources available such as the internet as well as the local bookstore.

Types of Allergies

There are many different types of allergies and they can all be classified depending on the type of allergen, the way they infiltrate the body, the reactions they cause as well as the methods that can be used to subdue and control them. Some of the different types include

  • Drug allergies
  • Food Allergies
  • Dust Allergies
  • Insect Bite Allergies
  • Pollen or Mold allergies
  • Allergies due to jewelry
  • Pet Allergies

The best treatment for allergies is to avoid contact with the allergen altogether. This is why it is so important to identify the root allergen. Once it has been identified, make it a point to inform your doctor that you suffer from the allergy. In the event that you suffer a reaction, do not wait for the symptoms to get too bad before you consult a doctor.

Causes

There are different causes of allergic reactions that will also differ depending on the type of allergic reaction faced by the individual. However, it all boils down to the white blood cells within the body and the way they work when exposed to the antigen.

The origin of an allergy is not necessarily from birth and in most cases the allergy tends to develop through the course of an individual's lifetime. On a wider scale, babies are known to have food allergies, and therefore it is necessary for the parents to be cautious of the foods they feed the baby. This is necessary so that effective care can be taken and the foods causing the allergic reaction in the body could be avoided in future. You should know that an allergy is mainly caused when the immune system of the body reacts to a potentially harmless substance present in the environment. This would be manifested in the form of rash and inflammation and other symptoms.

Symptoms

The reaction could also include a number of different symptoms - for instance, a rash may be accompanied by blisters and scars and bruises as well as reddening of the skin. In most cases, the allergic reactions are minor and will cause some minimal irritation before disappearing within a matter of a few hours. However, there are instances in which the reaction could last for a matter of days before subsiding - causing significant discomfort and maybe even pain. More rarely will the reaction be so severe that it causes problems such as anaphylaxis and be life threatening. Studies have shown that there are about 500 to 1000 fatalities as a result of allergy induced anaphylaxis in the United States of America every year.

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