Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

What’s an Allergy

Allergy and in-laws are alike. Though bearable, they make our lives miserable. Manifesting in forms of sneeze, wheeze, cough, tears, rash and headache, it interferes with our normal living. In its most severe form allergy reveals as Anaphylactic shock, which is a medical emergency
Dr. Neelima Mishra, Internal Consultant explains, “Our immune system is equipped to fight foreign invaders. In an instance of allergy, immune system goes in overdrive on a false alarm. On identifying a non-toxic substance—allergens, which differs from person to person, it stimulates white blood cells to overreact. This hyper activity of the immune system harms the body more than the invader itself.”

Pull the trigger

She further informs that almost any substance can cause an allergic reaction to someone, somewhere in the world. Common offenders—
• Mould
• Pollen
• Dust
• Certain metals, especially nickel
• Animal hair and venom
• Some cosmetics
• Common drugs—such as Pencillin and aspirin
• Food items—nuts, dairy, wheat, chocolate, eggs, shellfish and strawberries
• Chemicals in cleaning supplies
• Food additives

Though rare semen allergy happens too.

Tell tale signs

• Sneeze with a runny or clogged nose
• Irritated airways in the form of broncho-spasm
• Cough that comes with postnasal drip
• Itching eyes, nose and throat
• Tearing eyes and conjunctivitis
• Skin rashes and infections

Living with allergies

We inherit allergies, and for most of us they are minor irritants. Not true, for people with asthma, or people who have severe allergies. For them allergies can be life threatening.

Allergies can lead to secondary diseases like ear and sinus infections.

Food allergy vs Food Intolerance

Though used as synonyms, they differ. In food intolerance processing of the food becomes difficult due to lack of enzymes, but a food allergy occurs when immune system generates an antibody response to the ingested food. An irritating cough or tickle in the throat can be a sign of food allergy.

Treating allergies

Dr. Neelima Mishra, emphasises to avoid the allergens. Treatment for allergy is usually symptomatic.
• Antihistamines are the corner stone of allergy treatment.
• For treating skin rash use corticosteroids cream
• Nasal symptoms respond better to nasal sprays.

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Category: Allergy
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