People of all ages around the globe are often encountered with different types of allergies. Allergies are normally caused by the abnormal immune system reactions. Allergens are the substances like dust, pollen, certain food and medicines etc. that cause allergic reactions.
If someone says he is allergic to something, it means that particular substance is harmful to his body. So, in order to protect his body from that particular substance, his immune system generates IgE antibodies (natural defense) to that allergen. These antibodies cause some cells in his body to free chemicals such as histamine into his bloodstream. It acts on his nose, eyes, throat, skin, lungs or gastrointestinal tract and causes the allergic reaction. This happens each time he is exposed to that particular allergen because it will trigger this antibody response.
In case you have a runny nose most of the time, that means you have an allergy. This can be severe sometimes and even cause swelling of the lips, throat and tongue or other parts of the body. Also, difficulty in breathing, dizziness or loss of consciousness can be felt. This reaction is called anaphylaxis. It is also observed that asthma attack can be due to allergic reaction to dust. In some cases, anaphylaxis can occur minutes after you are exposed to the substance. But usually this can be cured if you take adequate medical treatment.
Another fact worth noticing is that people having allergies in the family, have a high probability of having the same. This means allergies are often hereditary, and can be passed down to your children. But it is also not compulsory that just because your siblings or parents have it, you would have it too.
There are various allergens but the most common ones include:
Foods: Generally, infants have more probability of developing food allergies which will fade away as they grow up. In case you develop diarrhoea, rashes or a stuffy nose when you eat a particular food, you may be allergic to that food. Seafood, eggs, peanuts, milk and dairy products are some of the foods which can cause allergies to different people.
Airborne particles: Apart from certain foods, some airborne particles like dust mites, pollens and animal dander can also cause allergies. They are often called as environmental allergens.
Bites and stings of insects: Some people are allergic to the venom injected by certain insect bites. These can be severe at times and cause anaphylactic reaction in some people.
Chemicals: Cosmetics and detergents can also cause allergy. This is because they are allergic to the various chemicals used in that product. Sometimes, even pesticides and dyes can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Medicines: Antibiotics and over-the-counter medications can also cause allergies sometimes.
In order to avoid allergies especially those due to food items, the best option is to avoid exposing yourself to that particular allergen. For instance, if you are allergic to seafood it's a lot better to avoid it from our diet than to suffer with the allergy after having it. Also, it is to be noted that unlike other allergies which are treatable using medicines, food allergies can’t be treated. Keep in mind that all you have to do is stay away from the allergen in order to control your allergy. In this case you don’t have to take any medicines or treatments.
Consulting an allergist is an ideal way to test and confirm whether or not you have a particular allergy.