Allergy is a condition where the immune system is hypersensitive to a particular substance in the environment which usually causes little or no problem to others. The immune system of a person who has allergy reacts to these allergens as pathogens and starts reacting. These allergens may or may not be harmful. As the immune system becomes over sensitive when on contact, it becomes an allergy. When the immune system reacts, it releases immunoglobulin which fights the allergen. The release of immunoglobulin triggers the production of certain chemicals which causes the allergic reaction. Histamine is one such chemical which causes tightening of the muscles and the lining of the nose to produce more mucus.
Some of the most common symptoms of some allergies are as follows:
- Dust and pollen allergy: Nose block, irritation of eyes, irritation of nose, runny nose, watery eyes, swollen eyes, and coughing are some of the symptoms of dust and pollen allergy.
- Skin allergy: Flaked skin, skin peeling off, red skin, rash and itchy skin are some of the symptoms of skin allergy.
- Food allergy: Vomiting, swollen lips, swollen face, swollen throat, stomach cramps, diarrhea, itchy mouth, and anaphylaxis are some of the symptoms of food allergy.
- Medication allergy: Swollen tongue, skin rash, swollen lips, swelling on face, anaphylaxis are some of the allergies related to medication.
Doctors may ask questions regarding the symptoms to gain a better idea of the allergy. Certain tests are carried out to find which allergen is causing the allergy. Some of the tests are as follows:
- Blood test: Blood is tested to find the level of immunoglobulin present in the body.
- Skin prick test: The skin is pricked with a very small quantity of allergen and the skin is checked for reactions like rash, swelling or itching.
- Patch test: Special metal disks with traces of allergens are patched to the skin for 48 hours and the doctor checks for any sign of allergy.
The most important thing to avoid an allergy is to avoid contact with the particular allergen. People should be educated about their allergies and the potential allergens that trigger the allergy. In severe cases, there are various medications to treat the condition.