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Allergies: What Are They And How Do You Deal With Them?

    Allergies: What Are They And How Do You Deal With Them?

    What are allergies? It is a typically chronic condition in which certain substances (that are otherwise harmless to other people) trigger uncomfortable physical reactions. These substances are allergens. When a patient has an allergy, the body registers allergens as dangerous substances or invaders, which leads to a series of responses from the immune system. Some people may outgrow their childhood allergies, while others can develop an allergy overtime. It is also possible to have an allergy to a certain substance throughout one’s lifetime.

    Most Common Food Allergies in the Philippines

    Types of Allergens

    Allergies can be triggered by a variety of substances. Some allergens that are more common than others, examples of which include:

    Less common allergens are red meat, sunlight, semen, and dishwashing liquid. As a result, people with allergies are encouraged to read food and product labels before use. Some people can also have allergic reactions to certain medicines, making it important to disclose any and all allergies to a doctor before receiving medical treatment.

    Ways to Trigger an Allergy

    Primarily, allergic reactions often occur on the patient’s skin or in the respiratory system. A vast majority of allergic reactions occur right after contact with the allergen, but some can exhibit symptoms hours or days after contact.

    What are allergies and their modes of contact? Allergies can trigger through:

    • Nasal or oral ingestion (breathing in or consuming an allergen)
    • Injection
    • Skin contact or absorption

    List of Common Allergy Symptoms

    Symptoms of an allergic reaction often depend on the type and severity of the allergy. Here are some of the most common symptoms of an allergy:

    Unfortunately, some types of allergies (such as a peanut allergy) can cause dangerously severe symptoms. These are dangerous if emergency relief is not provided during an allergic reaction.

    Diagnosis

    When diagnosing allergies, doctors often review a patient’s personal and familial medical history and perform a physical examination of symptoms. There are also specific tests that doctors can use to confirm a diagnosis.

    Common tests for skin allergies are the skin prick test and the patch test. This aims to identify immediate reactions to as many as 50 allergens simultaneously. Alternative tests exist as well, such as skin injection tests, which are primarily used to identify allergies to substances such as penicillin.

    As for food allergies, doctors may suggest going on a hypoallergenic diet plan.

    Common Drugs That Cause Allergic Reactions

    Treatment

    While treatment depends on the type of allergies a patient can have, there are 4 common strategies to treating an allergy:

    Active avoidance of allergens. This requires certain lifestyle and dietary changes with guidance from a doctor.

    Medication. Some medications such as antihistamine can mitigate a patient’s allergic reaction.

    Immunotherapy. This is another form of treatment for patients with severe symptoms. It usually involves exposing the patient with allergen extracts that have been purified. This helps a patient build natural immunity to the allergen in question.

    First aid solutions. In emergency cases and situations, first aid medications such as epinephrine may be used during an allergic reaction.

    Prevention

    Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way of preventing the onset of allergic reactions, as it is often impossible to prevent an allergy from developing. However, certain measures may lower the risk to some degree. This includes regular general cleaning, using specific types of materials to avoid allergens in a patient’s home, avoiding certain foods, and constructing a pet-free home environment.

    Likewise, healthy lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking, have proven to be somewhat effective in increasing the overall quality of life of some patients. For example, children have exhibited a lower risk of developing allergic asthma if they have been breastfed in the first six months of life.

    Allergy Skin Tests: How Do Doctors Check for Allergies?

    Key Takeaway

    In general, an allergy is a condition that causes certain immune responses to specific substances. While some allergies may lead to mild symptoms, certain types of allergies can cause severe reactions that are dangerous if left unchecked. Actively avoiding exposure to allergens, medicines, and immunotherapy are ways to treat an allergy or an allergic reaction.

    Learn more about Allergies here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    Food Allergies https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/foodallergies/index.htm Accessed January 15, 2021

    Allergy Facts https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts/ Accessed January 15, 2021

    Allergies and Allergic Reactions https://www.aafa.org/allergies.aspx Accessed January 15, 2021

    Allergies: Overview https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK447112/ Accessed January 15, 2021

    Food Allergy https://medlineplus.gov/foodallergy.html Accessed January 15, 2021

    Food Allergies (for Teens) https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/food-allergies.html Accessed January 15, 2021

    Learning About Allergies (for Kids) https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/allergies.html Accessed January 15, 2021

    Allergies https://medlineplus.gov/allergy.html Accessed January 15, 2021

    Rhinitis (Hay Fever) https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/rhinitis Accessed January 15, 2021

    Allergy Defined https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/allergy Accessed January 15, 2021

    Allergy Symptoms https://www.aafa.org/allergy-symptoms/ Accessed January 15, 2021

    First Aid: Allergic Reaction (for Parents) https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/allergic-reaction-sheet.html Accessed January 15, 2021

    Allergy skin tests https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/allergy-tests/about/pac-20392895#:~:text=A%20skin%20prick%20test%2C%20also,usually%20done%20on%20the%20forearm Accessed January 15, 2021

    Allergies https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351503 Accessed January 15, 2021

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    Written by Kip Soliva Updated May 31, 2021
    Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, MD