Allergies - overview

Allergy - allergies; Allergy - allergens

An allergy is an immune response or reaction to substances that are usually not harmful.

What causes seasonal allergies?The correct answer is an immune system reaction. Your immune system normally protects your body against harmful bacteria and viruses. If you have seasonal allergies, this system reacts strongly to harmless pollens. Seasonal allergies are also sometimes called hay fever.What are common seasonal allergy symptoms?The correct answer is all of the above. When you come in contact with an allergy trigger, your body releases the chemical histamine. This causes allergy symptoms. Other symptoms include cough, sore throat, puffy eyes, tiredness, and headache. Tell your doctor if you notice allergy symptoms.What else can cause allergy symptoms in some people?The correct answer is A, B, and C. These triggers create symptoms that affect the nose. It's not always easy to know what is causing allergy symptoms. If you start sneezing and your nose runs, write down what you were doing when symptoms started. Learning what causes your symptoms can help you avoid allergy triggers.Your doctor can do tests to find out what causes your allergies.The correct answer is true. Your doctor can test you to see what causes an allergic reaction. The most common is a skin prick test. A small amount of a possible allergy trigger is placed on your skin. Then the skin is gently pricked to allow it to go under the skin. If you have swelling or redness, you are allergic.What can you do to avoid allergy triggers?The correct answer is A, B, and C. To reduce allergy triggers in your home, install furnace filters or other air filters. Use a dehumidifier to dry the air in your house and prevent mold. If you have pets, don't let them in your bedroom or on furniture. Pay attention to pollen levels in your area, and avoid going outside when levels are high.What produces the pollen that causes allergies?The correct answer is all of the above. If you get seasonal allergies, work with your doctor to find out what you are allergic to. Pollen levels are highest on cool, damp, rainy days.The correct answer is false. More pollen is in the air on hot, dry, windy days. The amount of pollen in the air can affect whether hay fever symptoms develop. Check for pollen count in your area in the news or online. Stay indoors in air conditioning if possible when counts are high. Which can treat allergies?The correct answer is all of the above. Common medicines include antihistamines, corticosteroids, and decongestants. Treatments are available over-the-counter and by prescription. Your doctor will recommend a medicine based on what you are allergic to and how severe your allergies are.Allergy shots can treat severe seasonal allergies.The correct answer is true. Your doctor may recommend shots if you can't avoid allergy triggers and your symptoms are hard to control. You will get regular shots of the substance that causes the reaction. Allergy shots help your body adjust and stop reacting to the allergy trigger. Ask your doctor if this therapy is right for you.
Allergic reactions

Allergic reaction can be provoked by skin contact with poison plants, chemicals and animal scratches, as well as by insect stings. Ingesting or inhaling substances like pollen, animal dander, molds and mildew, dust, nuts and shellfish, may also cause allergic reaction. Medications such as penicillin and other antibiotics are also to be taken with care, to assure an allergic reflex is not triggered.

Allergy symptoms

The immune system normally responds to harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses and toxins by producing symptoms such as runny nose and congestion, post-nasal drip and sore throat, and itchy ears and eyes. An allergic reaction can produce the same symptoms in response to substances that are generally harmless, like dust, dander or pollen. The sensitized immune system produces antibodies to these allergens, which cause chemicals called histamines to be released into the bloodstream, causing itching, swelling of affected tissues, mucus production, hives, rashes, and other symptoms. Symptoms vary in severity from person to person.

Histamine is released

Mast cells release histamine when an allergen is encountered. The histamine response can produce sneezing, itching, hives and watery eyes.

Introduction to allergy treatment

Treatment varies with the severity and type of allergy symptom. The first course of action is to avoid the allergen if possible. Medications such as antihistaimines are then usually prescribed to relieve the allergic symptoms. Immunotherapy, or "allergy shots", is occasionally recommended if the allergen cannot be avoided. It includes regular injections of the allergen, given in increasing doses that may "de-sensitize" the body to the allergen.

Hives (urticaria) on the arm

Hives (urticaria) are raised, red, itchy welts, seen here on the arm. The majority of urticaria develop as a result of allergic reactions. Occasionally, they may be associated with autoimmune diseases, infections (parasitosis), drugs, malignancy, or other causes.

Hives (urticaria) on the chest

Hives (urticaria) are raised, red, itchy welts, seen here on the chest. The majority of urticaria develop as a result of allergic reactions. Occasionally they may be associated with autoimmune diseases, infections (parasitosis), drugs, malignancy, or other causes.

Allergies

Heredity, environmental conditions, number and type of exposures and emotional factors can indicate a predisposition to allergies.

Antibodies

Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention