Do I Have Allergies?
The term “allergy” refers to the exaggerated immune response to certain foreign substances that enter the body. Typically, foreign substances can enter the body at any time and are normally harmless. However, in the case of someone who has an allergy, certain foreign substances can trigger an allergic response. These substances are known as allergens.
Allergy triggers vary depending on the individual. Not all allergens cause the same reaction for one person as they would another.
What Is an Allergy?
An allergy is a kind of disorder of the immune system’s response to specific substances, which leads to certain symptoms such as coughing, the eyes becoming watery, sneezing, and a runny nose. When the immune system reacts to any kind of foreign substance, which can include dust mites, bee venom, pet dander, pollen, or any kind of food, then it leads to an allergic reaction. The body will start to produce proteins, which are also known as antibodies. When there is any kind of foreign substance that comes into contact with the individual’s body, the immune system will then start developing antibodies which try to identify these foreign bodies, also known as allergens, or a harmful bacteria or pathogen, even though it may not be the case. The immune system is known to quickly react to these invaders, thereby leading to inflammation in the skin, the sinuses, the digestive system, and the airways as well. Allergies are not to be seen as a common occurrence in everyone, but it has been observed that every alternate individual tends to have some kind of allergy. The severity of the allergy may also vary from person to person. And, in certain cases, the symptoms may be mild or minor in their form of irritation, and in other instances, it can turn out to be life-threatening issues for the individual if proper treatment is not carried out. Most allergies are not able to be cured completely, however, there are multiple treatments available in both conventional forms as well as home remedies, which are made available to provide relief from the symptoms that are caused due to an existing allergy.
The allergic reaction and associating symptoms caused due to a particular allergy can vary from individual to individual, and it is said to also depend on the substance or allergen that has been involved to cause a negative impact on the nasal passages, airways, skin, and/or sinuses. The reaction in the individual to these allergies can also vary from a mild form to a more severe case. When the symptoms become very severe, then there can be a possibility that the individual is suffering from a certain life-threatening reaction, which is also known as anaphylaxis. Below are a few of the symptoms that an individual may experience for various types of allergens:
- Any kind of food allergy is known to cause symptoms such as a tingling sensation in the mouth, anaphylaxis, hives, or swelling of the throat, lips, face, and tongue.
- Hay fever, which is also called allergic rhinitis, can lead to various symptoms, which may include a stuffy and runny nose, constant sneezing, eyes that turn red, watery, as well as swollen (very similar to a condition known as conjunctivitis), and an itching sensation in the nose, eyes, or the roof of the mouth.
- An allergy caused due to a drug or medications may include symptoms such as the skin becoming itchy, hives, there would be a development of rashes on the skin, anaphylaxis, a wheezing sound, and swelling of the face.
- An allergic reaction caused due to the sting of an insect would lead to various symptoms such as hives, which start to spread all over the body; an edema would develop, wherein it could lead to swelling in a large area of the affected region; there would be pain or tightness in the chest; irregular breathing; and anaphylaxis. This is said to be one of the most dangerous forms of allergies, especially so for those individuals who are known to be severely allergic to bee stings. There could also be a rise in one’s pulse rate, along with a reduction in blood pressure, leading to the individual feeling dizzy. Hence, those individuals who suffer from bee or insect venom allergies should be sure to carry along with them epinephrine, which is a self-injection kit that is available in multiple brands.
- There is another form of allergy, which is one caused due to any kind of exposure to latex. It is basically a reaction of the body to a man-made material known to be latex. It is mostly in the form of a powder residue that is known to be a coating of the latex on rubber gloves and other such items. It can also be airborne. A few of the symptoms caused due to a latex allergy can include constant itching, rashes on the body, hives, asthma reaction, eyes turning watery, and anaphylaxis.
- Sensitivity towards chemicals cannot be entirely termed as an allergic reaction, but it is known to be an inability of the affected individual’s body to tolerate any kind of or specific environmental chemicals, which can include pesticides, fumes, or any other pollutants or contaminants present in the air. A few of the symptoms caused to those suffering from chemical sensitivity can include: trouble with the respiratory system, vomiting, seizure attacks, nausea, headaches that can become severe gradually, heart arrhythmia, and cognitive dysfunction.
What Areas of the Body Are Affected Due to Allergies?
Based on exactly which allergen has affected the body and how it has come into contact with the body, the individual may tend to experience multiple symptoms. One such example would be when pollen is breathed in through the nose, it can lead to symptoms in the eyes, nose, or sinuses. In certain cases, an allergic reaction is also known to impact various parts of the body all at the same time:
- The lungs as well as the chest: Asthma is said to be triggered usually in certain kinds of allergic reactions. When an individual breathes in an allergen, the lining of the passage present in the lungs starts to swell, thereby making it difficult for the individual to breathe. However, not all asthma attacks are caused due to an allergic reaction, but in most cases, an allergy is known to play an important role.
- The throat, nose, sinuses, and eyes: When an individual takes in an allergen through breathing, the subsequent release of histamine can cause the lining of the nose to start producing a lot of mucus, thereby making it swell and also become inflamed. It then leads to the nose starting to water and itch. There can be cases of violent sneezing, too, and the eyes would start to water, leading to a sore throat as well.
- Skin: There are certain kinds of skin problems, such as eczema, which lead to itchy, dry, and red skin, or urticaria, which is also known as hives and is said to mostly occur during an allergic reaction. There can be an occurrence of hives which appear in the form of white, itchy bumps, and these mostly feel like a sort of insect bite. In certain cases of hives, as well as eczema, food is known to be the allergen causing these symptoms.
- Bowels as well as the stomach: Most of the time, it has been seen that upset stomachs are known to occur due to the intake of spicy or rich foods. This cannot be termed as an actual allergy. However, a few of the foods that are said to be commonly associated with allergic reactions are seafood, dairy items, eggs, and peanuts. There is a common allergy to cow milk found in infants, and it can lead to an upset stomach, colic pain, or eczema. It can also lead to failure in thriving. There are a few individuals who find it difficult to digest lactose, or milk sugar. This kind of lactose intolerance can also lead to an upset stomach, but very often, it is confused with an allergy, which is not the case.