Allergies are hypersensitive responses from the immune system to foreign substances that do not initiate an immune response in normal individuals. The common allergies include substances such as pet dander, dust, pollen, bee’s venom, some scents and mites etc.
According to the report of a recent survey, 30 % of adults and 40 % of children in the United States have developed an allergy against some allergens.
Allergies can be considered as an inappropriate and triggered response to normally harmless substances. The symptoms include sneezing, redness, itching, sensitization, and peeling of the skin. An allergen causes inflammation and irritation in the body and the symptoms depend upon the type of allergen and the frequency of exposure to the particular allergen. The allergic responses get stronger with each exposure. The reaction may occur in the gut, skin, eyes, sinuses, airway and nasal passage.
It can cause vomiting and nausea which can agitate the person. Allergies can result in a serious and life-threatening condition known as anaphylactic shock, which is a medical emergency.
Anaphylaxis is a triggered and exaggerated response to an allergen that sets up rapidly and stimulates a chain of inflammatory reactions leading to shock. It is a life-threatening condition and must be treated as a medical emergency.
After exposure to the allergen, the symptoms begin to appear within a few minutes and the response may get amplified with time.
The symptoms of anaphylactic shock include hives or red patches all over the body, flushing and itchy skin, swollen tissues, a burning sensation, a blue tint in the skin due to lack of oxygen, swelling of the tongue and throat, runny nose, excessive sneezing, shortness of breath, wheezing, hoarseness of voice, itchy throat and coughing. Other symptoms include pain during swallowing, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of conscious control over sphincters, pelvic pain similar to uterine cramps, coronary artery spasm, lowering of blood pressure, slow heart rate, dizziness, and fainting.
The following can be the possible risk factors for developing any sort of allergy;
The skin allergy tested is usually done on the forearm. A drop of a suspected allergen is pricked on the surface of the skin. Many suspected allergens are tested at the same time. If you are allergic to one of the tests, you will have redness and swelling at the test spot.
Skin testing is fast. Positive reactions usually appear within 20 minutes.
Because the blood sample must be sent to a lab for testing, it usually takes 1 week to get the results.
Effective preventive measures and medication can help control the symptoms and manage the allergic responses. Always consult your primary care physician before taking any medication. Common medicines include antihistamines, decongestants, leukotrienes antagonists and steroid aerosol sprays.