Allergy

Allergy

Following certain restrictions can greatly control allergies.

Allergies are a very common problem. Children are more prone to allergies. However, symptoms may decrease with age. Even if many people do not have allergy problems in childhood, they may develop new allergies later. Following certain restrictions can help control allergies to a large extent.

Causes of Allergy:

The causes of allergies are diverse and can vary from person to person.
The body’s immune system protects us from harmful substances. However, sometimes harmless substances are mistakenly perceived as harmful. Our immune system’s reaction against these things causes allergy symptoms, such as skin redness and itching. For example, skin redness and itching

Common things that cause allergies in the body include:

  • Certain foods
  • Dust
  • Hot or cold weather
  • Sweat
  • Domesticated animals and birds
  • Pollen molecules and flower molecules
  • Sunshine
  • Dust mite
  • Mold or fungus
  • Various medicines
  • Pesticides
  • Detergents and various chemicals
  • Latex or special rubber gloves and condoms
  • Stress and anxiety

List of allergenic foods:

Common food allergies include:

  • The shrimp
  • Eggplant
  • Hilsa fish
  • Beef
  • Nuts

Apart from this, children can be allergic to eggs and milk.

Each person can be allergic to different things or foods. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the symptoms of allergies when coming into contact with or eating food. Once you figure this out, it becomes much easier to keep allergies under control.

Allergy Symptoms:

After the body comes into contact with the allergic material, its reaction is seen within a short period of time. Symptoms of an allergy are:

  • Itchy skin, rash, or hives
    Swelling or swelling of parts of the body, blistering, and swelling of the skin
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, eyes, and mouth
  • Itchy eyes, watery eyes, redness, and swelling
  • Dry cough, sneezing, itchy nose and throat, and nasal congestion
  • Shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing while breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, belching, and diarrhea

Knowing when to go to the doctor

It is important to see a doctor in the following three cases: –

  1. If the symptoms do not go away after taking the medicine,
  2. If new symptoms appear or the problem worsens after taking the medicine prescribed by the doctor,
  3. If a severe allergic reaction occurs,

Severe Allergic Reaction


In very rare cases, an allergic reaction can develop into an emergency called anaphylaxis. If quick action is not taken in this situation, the patient’s life may be at risk. Take such a patient to the nearest hospital immediately. A timely injection can save a patient’s life.

How to know if anaphylaxis is happening or not:

  • Experiencing shortness of breath or wheezing while breathing
  • Chest and throat feel tight or stuck.
  • Swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Bluishness of the lips and skin
  • Feeling like you’re losing consciousness or being completely unconscious
  • Confusion and anxiety
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Some symptoms of anxiety include chest palpitations or sweating.
  • An itchy red rash or swelling of the skin
  • Skin coming off or blistering from some parts of the body
  • Anaphylaxis can occur from allergic foods and medications, contrast or dye used in medical tests, or insect bites.

Allergy treatment


Following some restrictions in diet and lifestyle can greatly control allergies.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle


Avoid foods and medicines that cause allergies. Follow your doctor’s advice if you have asthma or any other respiratory disease. Physical exercise, yoga, and breathing exercises can be used to deal with stress.

Medicine

Doctors mainly use antihistamines to treat allergies. They can be taken as soon as allergy symptoms appear—even before they manifest.  For example, if someone is allergic to dust and needs to clean it, antihistamines can be taken beforehand.

These medicines are available in different forms. For example, tablets, syrups, and drops Note that some allergy medications may cause side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness. So discuss with the doctor and choose the right medicine for you.

Nasal decongestant drops and sprays can be used as per a doctor’s prescription for nasal congestion problems. But do not use these drops and sprays for more than a week. Allergy symptoms may return with prolonged use.

Moisturizing creams and ointments effectively treat skin allergies. Calamine lotion and 1% menthol cream work very well for itching. Apart from this, wrapping ice in a towel and applying cold compresses to the itchy area provides relief.

Steroids work well for severe allergies. Steroids are very powerful drugs with many side effects. Therefore, you should not buy these medicines yourself from the Internet or from the pharmacy. Patients should only take such medicines as prescribed by their doctor.

Immunotherapy


Immunotherapy is an effective treatment for serious allergies. During this treatment, the patient becomes accustomed to the presence of specific allergens for an extended duration. As a result, the affected person’s body does not react as strongly to that allergen as before. As a result, it becomes much easier to control the symptoms.

In cases of severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis, as discussed above, the affected person should be taken to the nearest hospital immediately. If symptoms of anaphylaxis occur, administer an immediate injection of adrenaline into the outer thigh of the patient. This injection contains a life-saving hormone called adrenaline. It helps reduce the risk of death.

Preventing Allergies

The best way to stay free from allergies is to avoid the things you are allergic to. Follow these tips to prevent allergies:

  • Avoid foods that cause allergies.
  • Make a home for pets outside the house and keep them clean regularly.
  • To prevent allergies from a type of microscopic insect called dust mite, keep the areas of the house where you spend a lot of time dust-free and clean. Bed sheets, pillowcases, pillow and pillow covers, and window curtains—wash them in hot water at least once a week. The fewer items that cannot be washed regularly in the home, the better. Eg: Carpet.

Also, wear a good mask while making beds and brushing. Use a wet cloth to wipe items that are wipeable. It will not spread dust.

The dust mite is a type of small insect. They are not visible to the naked eye. Under the microscope, it looks like a white, eight-legged insect. They survive by eating the dead cells from our skin that fall onto the bed, carpet, or sofa every day.

  • Keep the home environment dry to protect against fungus or mold. Also, keep good ventilation. Avoid drying clothes indoors and remove plants if present.
  • Heat or sweat can cause allergies. So if the body gets hot or sweaty after hard work, stay in a ventilated place and wear loose clothes.
  • The cold can also cause allergy problems. If so, avoid bathing in rain and ponds. During bathing, use turmeric in warm water.
  • Some people may be allergic to certain metals. Wearing rings, jewelry, and watches made of these metals can cause allergies. If you are allergic to a certain metal, avoid using things made of that metal in your daily life.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible during seasonal changes to prevent allergies to pollen molecules. When you go out, make sure to change your clothes and take a bath upon returning home to wash away the pollen molecules. If possible, dry clothes indoors. But also take care that the fungus does not grow. Also, avoid walking in places where the amount of grass is high.
  • Allergies can occur from chemicals in various cosmetics. For example, chemicals in soaps, shampoos, face washes, and perfumes Avoid using products that you are allergic to.

Special information: breast milk to prevent allergies

Breastfeeding young babies has many benefits. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age. Some studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding, with no solid foods for at least the first four months after birth, may be effective in preventing allergies.

Tests and diagnosis


To find out the cause of the allergy, the doctor asks the affected person various questions and performs a physical examination. Apart from that, check whether the symptoms, like allergies, are appearing due to any other disease or not. Important tests to detect allergies are:

Dietary changes

Doctors commonly eliminate allergic foods from the diet to determine if the allergy can be controlled. Later, the food is reintroduced to determine if the allergy returns or not. Doctors generally recommend that patients keep a diary of the types of foods that cause allergy symptoms. By doing so, it is possible to determine which food the patient is allergic to.

Skin test

Allergens are substances that people are allergic to. A skin test involves putting a small amount of liquid containing the allergen on the upper arm. A needle is used to make a small hole in that place. If allergic, within 15 minutes, the area starts to itch and turn red.

Taking antihistamines before the test will not yield accurate results.

Blood test

A blood sample is taken to check for the production of antibodies against a specific allergen.

Patch test

During this test, we check the body for the presence of a type of eczema or allergic skin disease known as ‘contact dermatitis’.

Challenge test

This test is done in a few cases. Perform the test in a location where emergency treatment is available in case of a severe allergic reaction. During this test, the healthcare provider observes the allergic reaction by feeding the patient the specific food they may be allergic to. By gradually increasing the amount of food, we can also observe if the allergic reaction increases or not.

Special note

The use of allergy kits in allergy testing is not reliable. So it is better to avoid testing with this kit.

Good to know

Many times, the problem of sensitivity and intolerance can initially be thought of as an allergy problem. Knowing the difference between allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances will make it easier to avoid errors in treatment.

  • Allergy: Allergy is the reaction of the immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful. For example Sneezing and coughing when dust enters the nose
  • Sensitivity: When a substance affects the body more than normal, it is called sensitivity to that substance. For example, the caffeine in a cup of coffee can cause heart palpitations and body tremors if it acts more than usual.
  • Intolerance: Intolerance refers to the occurrence of unpleasant symptoms in the body due to the influence of a substance. e.g., diarrhea after consuming dairy food. This type of reaction is unrelated to the body’s immune system.

Frequently Asked Question

Allergies are not contagious. It is a special reaction of the body. Allergy symptoms appear in the body when our immune system forgets even harmless things and thinks of them as enemies. Different people can be allergic to different things.

Steroids are one of the medications used to treat allergies. One of these is steroids. They are available as white-round pills.
Steroids reduce allergy symptoms by weakening the body’s immune system. However, taking these medicines for a long time can lead to various health complications like infection, gastric problems, indigestion, bone loss, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Therefore, it is important to seek the specific advice of a doctor before using steroids.

Following some restrictions in diet and lifestyle can control allergies to a large extent. If necessary, follow the doctor’s advice and take antihistamines. However, it is important to find out whether these are all due to allergies.

Allergies can cause shortness of breath. If you already have a respiratory disease like asthma, the severity of the disease may increase.

Written by Dr. Maliha Tasnim and Dr. Ima Islam
A medical review done by Dr. Tasnim Zara

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