Understanding Allergies – An Introduction to Allergens and Dermatology

Allergies are responses caused by the body’s immune system reacting strongly to typically harmless environmental substances. An allergy may affect many different areas of the body such as the eyes, nose, throat, mouth, skin, muscles, blood vessels, and at times even the whole body via the lymphatic system. Allergy symptoms can be very mild or severe. Some people may not have any allergy symptoms at all. Allergies occur when one or more of the immune systems in the body is triggered by an allergen which normally would not cause problems. Allergy symptoms can vary greatly from person to person based on the allergen involved.

The most common allergies include hay fever, asthma, food allergies, seafood allergies, and dog and cat allergies. Allergens responsible for causing allergies are known as allergenic substances. These substances are generally inhaled or ingested into the body through direct contact with an allergen or even a non-allergenic substance. When an individual with allergies has a reaction they may experience hives, rashes, difficulty breathing, coughing, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, or fatigue. Allergy symptoms can also include hives, swelling of the face and lips, watering of the eyes, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, itching, and watery or reddened eyes.

Allergens can come in many different forms, but generally consist of one of four different groups. These groups are mold, animal dander, pollen, or dust mites. Children are most prone to allergies according to statistics. In childhood, increased risk of allergies is seen to siblings who also have allergies, or children living in the same household for much longer than the child. In recent years, researchers have noted an increased risk of asthma in children that live in households with higher levels of pet dander. Researchers believe that this increased risk of asthma is due to children not being as hygienic and careful with their own skin as older children.

The types of food allergies include cow’s milk, peanuts, soy, fish, wheat, and shellfish. Individuals suffering from any of these types of food allergies may feel uncomfortable and experience some degree of discomfort after consuming the foods. Many times, symptoms are so mild that individuals with allergies may go about their daily lives unaware of what they are experiencing. If an allergy is not identified and treated early, however, it can result in severe health complications and even death.

Allergic asthma is a type of allergy where the lining of the airways become inflamed as a result of exposure to allergens. This type of allergy is considered chronic because it takes place over a long period of time. Individuals suffering from this condition are often diagnosed at an early age due to the fact that they exhibit signs of asthma on a routine basis. There is no specific test for this disease, but doctors will usually do a series of tests to rule out other conditions.

An immunotherapy trial is currently being conducted to determine if allergies can be controlled by using immune system boosters. Treatments for this type of allergy typically consist of immune system boosting medications. When allergic reactions to food occur, the immune system goes into overdrive and starts producing antibodies against the proteins and chemicals in the body. These antibodies are sent to the blood stream where they fight against the offending substance. Unfortunately, this can create a toxic reaction in the body and cause symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing, rashes, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting, itching, chest pains, tightness in the chest, swelling of the face and mouth, hives, dizziness, and an irregular heartbeat.

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