An allergy is a hypersensitive reaction of the immune system to a foreign substance. The immune system is responsible for producing substances referred to as antibodies. When an individual suffers from allergies, their immune system generates antibodies that help in identifying the harmful allergens affecting the body.
The symptoms of allergies are dependent on the substance one has been affected with. The reactions can be mild, moderate or severe in nature.
Hay fever, which is also called allergic rhinitis, can result in sneezing, runny nose, itching in the eyes or the nose, and watery or swollen eyes.
An allergy, which has resulted from consuming a particular food item, can lead to a tingling sensation in the mouth, lips or face swelling up or anaphylaxis, which could pose a threat to one’s life.
Insect sting allergy
A sting from an insect can cause the affected portion to swell up considerably, cause an itching sensation across the body, and lead to shortness of breath.
An allergy, caused by the consumption of some medication, results in an itchy skin, rash, hives, swelling on the face, wheezing, and anaphylaxis.
This is a skin condition, which also goes by the name of eczema. Apart from causing an itching sensation in the skin, it can also result in it peeling off.
Anaphylaxis is a severe form of reaction that could pose a serious threat to the patient’s life if not controlled in the early stages. Some of the commonly observed symptoms of anaphylaxis are losing consciousness, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, light-headedness, skin rash, weak pulse, and nausea.
Causes of allergies
A person suffers from an allergy when their immune system considers a harmless material to be a threat. The immune system then proceeds to generate antibodies that keep a close watch on the substance that has been identified as an allergen. When the allergen comes in contact with the body again, the antibodies produce a variety of chemicals that cause symptoms of allergy.
Some of the common triggers of allergy are:
- Airborne allergens like dust mites, pollen, mold, and animal dander
- Food items like wheat, fish, eggs, peanuts, milk, shellfish, and tree nuts.
- Insect stings, particularly from a wasp or a bee
- Medicinal remedies that have penicillin content in them
- Latex and a few other substances, which cause a reaction upon touching them
Risk factors of allergies
If members of your family have been prone to certain kinds of allergies, then there is a chance that you might suffer from them at some point of time. Families, which have had a history of suffering from a particular allergy, should get their younger members checked for any symptoms at an early age.
Several studies have indicated that young children are at a higher risk of suffering from allergies than adults or older people.
Asthma or other allergies
If you are already suffering from an allergy, especially something like asthma, there is a chance that you will develop other kinds of allergies in due course of time.