Allergies occur when your system reacts to a far off substance — like pollen, bee venom or pet dander — or a food that does not cause a reaction in most people.
Your immune system produces substances known as antibodies. When you have allergies, your system makes antibodies that identify a specific allergen as harmful, albeit it is not. When you inherit contact with the allergen, your immune system's reaction can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways or gastrointestinal system.
The severity of allergies varies from person to person and may range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening emergency. While most allergies cannot be cured, treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.
Allergy symptoms, which depend upon the substance involved, can affect your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and gastrointestinal system. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In some severe cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction referred to as anaphylaxis.
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, can cause:
Ø Itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth
Ø Runny, stuffy nose
Ø Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
A food allergy can cause:
Ø Tingling in the mouth
Ø Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat
An insect sting allergy can cause:
Ø A large area of swelling (edema) at the sting site
Ø Itching or hives all over the body
Ø Cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath
A drug allergy can cause:
Ø Itchy skin
Ø Facial swelling
Atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition also called eczema, can cause skin to:
Ø Flake or peel
Some sorts of allergies, including allergies to foods and bug stings, can trigger a severe reaction referred to as anaphylaxis. A life-threatening medical emergency, anaphylaxis can cause you to travel into shock. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
Ø Loss of consciousness
Ø A drop in blood pressure
Ø Severe shortness of breath
Ø Skin rash
Ø A rapid, weak pulse
Ø Nausea and vomiting
An allergy starts when your system mistakes a normally harmless substance for a dangerous invader. The system then produces antibodies that remain on the alert for that specific allergen. When you're exposed to the allergen again, these antibodies can release variety of system chemicals, like histamine, that cause allergy symptoms.
Common allergy triggers include:
Ø Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites and mold
Ø Certain foods, particularly peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs and milk
Ø Insect stings, such as from a bee or wasp
Ø Medications, particularly penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics
Ø Latex or other substances you touch, which can cause allergic skin reactions
You might be more likely to develop an allergy if you:
Ø Have a family history of asthma or allergies, such as hay fever, hives or eczema
Ø Are a child
Ø Have asthma or another allergic condition
Preventing allergies depends on the sort of allergy you've got . General measures include the following:
Avoid known triggers - Even if you're treating your allergy symptoms, try to avoid triggers. If, as an example, you're allergic to pollen, stay inside with windows and doors closed when pollen is high. If you're allergic to dust mites, dust and vacuum and wash bedding often.
Keep a diary - When trying to spot what causes or worsens your allergic symptoms, track your activities and what you eat, when symptoms occur and what seems to assist . This may help you and your doctor identify triggers.
Wear a medical alert bracelet - If you've had a severe allergy, a medical alert bracelet (or necklace) lets others know that you simply have a significant allergy just in case you've got a reaction and you're unable to communicate.
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