Allergies are an immune response towards any foreign body. An individual with allergies is often responsive to more than one thing. Allergenic feedback can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening conditions. An allergic reaction starts in the immune system; our immune system is supposed to protect us from harmful foreign objects, but sometimes it mistakes a harmless object as a possible threat. The system overreacts by forming antibodies that travel to the cells where they release histamine and some other chemicals causing an allergic reaction.
An allergic reaction usually begins in the nose, throat, lungs, sinuses, ears or the skin. In some cases, allergic reactions can set about symptoms of asthma. Listed below are some of the common symptoms of allergies:
- Itching skin
- Swollen lips, skin or tongue
- Runny or congested nose
- Sneezing or shortness of breath
- Red and watery eyes
- Dry or cracked skin
A life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis can also take place. Anaphylaxis affects the whole body and develops within minutes of exposure to an allergen. It can cause similar symptoms but can cause confusion, lightheadedness and collapsing.
Allergies are caused due to the hypersensitivity of the immune system towards some specific objects. Exposure to these objects can lead to a trigger and hence an allergic reaction. Some of the common allergens are:
- Dust mites
- certain foods
- pet dander
- insect stings
The best way to treat your allergies is to avoid the triggers. There are a few ways allergies can be treated:
- Medication: These can be bought at a local pharmacy without a prescription. However, consult the medical practitioner before using it.
- Antihistamines: These are the prime treatment for allergies. They come in various forms such as tablets, capsules, creams, eye and nose drops. One can use them after noticing the first signs of allergies.
- Lotions and creams: Itchy and red skin issues can be resolved through lotions and creams.
- Steroids: These are available as sprays, creams, inhalers and creams that can decrease inflammation.
- Immunotherapy: This treatment is prescribed to individuals with severe allergic reactions and is unable to experience relief with the above treatments. In this treatment, small doses of allergen are given in the form of injections, tablets or drops for several years.