Definition: Defining the Meaning of Allergy
An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Symptoms include red eyes, itchiness, and runny nose, eczema, hives, or an asthma attack. Allergies can play a major role in conditions such as asthma. In some people, severe allergies to environmental or dietary allergens or to medication may result in life-threatening reactions called anaphylaxis. Food allergies and reactions to the venom of stinging insects such as wasps and bees are more often associated with these severe reactions. Not all reactions or intolerances are forms of allergy.
Allergies are defined as abnormal reactions to normally harmless substances. The allergens can be inhaled, swallowed or come into contact with the skin. An allergy symptom is any symptom associated with allergies such as a running nose, itchy eyes, watery eyes, sneezing, itchy skin, and more.
NOTE: This section is mainly on respiratory system allergies - For food allergy information click here.
Allergens that most frequently cause problems are: pollen, mold, dust, foods, animal dander, insect bites, insect spores, viruses and bacteria.
Some of the most common allergy symptoms known as the seasonal allergies such as hay fever which include itchy watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing aspects of allergenic symptoms.
Also other cases of allergy feature more serious symptoms that can be more harmful and troublesome such as absent mindedness, dizziness, trouble swallowing, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, vertigo, vomiting, and other serious cases of health issues that may spring from how the body deals with the allergen itself.
Normally though experience, the human body learns to defend itself. That is by attacking a foreign substance that has invaded and, harming the body by producing antibodies. The best know of these antibodies are called histamines. Some times the immune system mistakenly recognizes a foreign substance, to be harmful when it is not. This can lead to the overproduction of histamines specially designed to destroy the specific foreign substance.
If the overproduction of the histamines is large enough the surrounding tissue is also damaged resulting in sneezing, a stuffy head, sniffing, stuffed-up head, read and watery eyes. the sinuses as the hay fever tend to affect certain systems of the body or even a skin rash which can be irritating.
What causes some of the symptoms
Take for instance Airborne allergy which, however, is the most common form of allergy and tend to feature the most common form of symptom as well. Most of these symptoms are related to the sinuses like hay fever tend to affect those systems of the body. Sneezing, a clogged and runny nose, itchiness in the eyes and throat, coughing, postnasal drip, and swollen eyes (a symptom called "conjunctivitis") are all parts of the airborne allergy symptom repertoire.
Why do these symptoms occur
Most times, the allergic reaction is coupled with a portion of an allergen. In other words, if the allergen is known for entering the lungs it will likely attack portions of the body related to the lungs and to the breathing. An airborne allergy, hence, is likely to attach itself to the breathing apparatus and will cause coughing or the nose to run because of the way it affects the system. A person with Allergies is burdened with an overprotective immune system and is forever on guard against everyday things that don't usually bother the rest of us. It might be a cute affectionate kitten, a patch of green grass, to a slice of fresh garden tomato.
Some of us can roll in poison ivy and come out without any problems, whilst others can merely brush up against a few leaves of the stuff and they are scratching for weeks. In most cases, allergies are more annoying that are infirmity to the extreme allergy suffers life can be pure misery or even death.
There are five main types of Allergic Reactions:
Food, mold, animal dander, pollen or dust can cause an immediate reaction to an allergy attack.
When your body responds to the invasion, the body release histamine from the irritated area such as the skin, nasal and bronchial areas. Allergens combine with healthy cells in your body which attacks the healthy cells; this is common in upper gastro intestinal attack.
Allergens invade the immune system and can cause injury to cells though out the body.
T-cells become activated and result in an inflammation of the effected area. An example of this is a rash caused by poison ivy.
Instead of the antibodies binding to the cell components as they do in type 2 allergies, the antibodies bind to the receptors on the surface of the cells.
We all carry a heavy load of various stress factors that slowly wear out our immune systems, over the years, making us more susceptible to allergy attacks. We are exposed to many more environmental pollutants and industrial toxins. No matter what type of allergy you are suffering from there is a good chance that you can find relief from it. You can fight allergies with vitamins and over the counter products.
Common Vitamins and over the counter products can help with Allergies such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B5, Glucosamine, Antioxidants, Allergy Aid, and Quercitin.
Vitamin A is a known antioxidant and can assist the human body in the healing process. Vitamin A is stored in the liver and fat cells of the human body and can reach toxic levels. DO NOT take more than the recommended dosage of Vitamin A. Up to one-third of older people can no longer absorb Vitamin B from their food. Vitamin B is needed to form red blood cells and keep nerves healthy.
Vitamin C is nature's protective nutrient, essential for defending the body against pollution and infection and enhances the bodies immune system. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. Unlike most mammals, humans do not have the ability to make their own vitamin C. Therefore, we must obtain vitamin C through our diet.
Beta Carotene protects the mucus membranes of the mouth, nose, throat and lungs. It also helps protect Vitamin C from oxidation, which enables it to perform at optimum efficiency. Biologically, beta-carotene is most important as the precursor of vitamin A. It also has anti-oxidant properties and may help in preventing cancer and other diseases.
Vitamin E protects the lung tissue from inhaled pollutants and aids in the functioning of the immune system. Alpha-tocopherol is the only form of vitamin E that is actively maintained in the human body and is therefore, the form of vitamin E found in the largest quantities in the blood and tissue. Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is essential to all forms of life. Pantothenic acid is found throughout living cells in the form of coenzyme A (CoA), a vital coenzyme in numerous chemical reactions.
Many find Pantothenic Acid to be very helpful against allergy symptoms. It is another form of nontoxic B vitamins. Pantothenic Acid is critical in the metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Glucosamine is an anti-inflammatory and may give some relief from allergy symptoms. Substances called antioxidants can neutralize free radical by pairing up or binding with the free radical elections thus inhibiting them from damaging cells in the human body. Allergy Aid supplies 9 beneficial Herb's to help provide temporary relief of respiratory allergies. The natural action of these specific Herb's help to open bronchial tubes and ease breathing.
Quercitin is a well known flavonoid. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants and can reduce inflammation boost the immune system and strengthen blood vessels and improve circulation. Quercitin is also known for its ability to block the release of histamines, thus reducing or preventing allergy symptoms.
How are allergy symptoms cured
An allergy symptom can be cured in a number of ways depending on the actual system it affects and how drastically the body is affected. Many people can simply take, for example, an antihistamine for a hay fever type allergy and go about their day while others simply will not respond to the antihistamine. It is really essential for the matter of the biological makeup to the allergy sufferer in terms of how they react to certain medications and how much medication is needed to cure the allergy symptom.
Many ingredients don't contain any micro biology testing or neither do they have any anti-microbial properties, take the ones in the Shea butter, Bees wax or even Neem formulations. It means that the product does not especially kill off any bacteria around eczema. There are findings that many forms of eczema would disappear by itself if the bacteria was destroyed. This would mean that the itch would be relived and in turn, further bacteria would not be applied by scratching of the skin causing further damage. Some ingredients can even cause dry skin which in turn can cause or prolong the eczema.
Take specific food proteins which can trigger food allergies.
A person with an allergic system produces an allergy antibody (IGE) in response to some food proteins. The allergy antibody which acts as a fuse,that can ignites an allergy bomb-allergy cells which in turn, releases histamine and other natural chemicals that cause allergic symptoms.
Histamine can be released anywhere in the allergy-prone person's body. A food allergy reaction may occur within seconds of ingestion within four hours later. Should a food allergy causes histamine to be released in the lungs, bronchial spasms, wheezing and difficulty in breathing can occur. Histamine to food allergies released in the skin causes itching or hives and eczema. Histamine that released in the stomach causes nausea. When food allergies cause a histamine release throughout the body, an anaphylactic shock may occur.
Although food may allergies afflict less than one percent of our population, reactions from a food allergy are some of the most severe.
Food allergy reactions range from a tingling sensation in the mouth and lips to an anaphylactic shock. An Anaphylactic shock may begin, with classic food allergy symptoms - tingling mouth and lips but within seconds the mouth and throat swell and constrict air passages. If air passages are severely constricted, choking and death by suffocation may occur. An Anaphylactic shock may also cause seizures resulting in heart failure and circulatory collapse. Food allergies can lead to asthma, especially in children, causing permanent lung damage. Fortunately, information about food allergies and allergy control products can help people with food allergies live normal lives.
Ingredients Can Hide Food Allergy
Thanks to guidelines in industries, food labels have been improved significantly. Although it still can be difficult to identify some ingredients that causes food reactions. Take for an example, a wheat gluten protein used for thickening which is used in a number of processed food products.
White vinegar, wheat gluten soups, pasta, white flour, bread, ice cream, cookies, alcoholic beverages and crackers. High protein flour, custard, sour cream, lunch meat, brown sugar, chocolate, yogurt, cheese, artificial butter flavor, margarine, butter and milk casein. Eggs, salad dressings, sandwich spreads, ice cream, bread and mayonnaise. Maple syrup, dextrose, flavorings, grits, corn meal, corn syrup, vitamin C, plastic wrap, paper plates, paper cups, adhesive and envelopes. Sulfites - used on raw and processed foods which prevent spoilage and discoloration.
Can and frozen vegetables, vegetable juices, gravies, stuffing, rice mixes, fish and shellfish, relish, trail mix and dried foods, frosting, gelatine, coconut, jam and jelly, wine vinegar, fruit juices, pizza crust, pickles and olives, alcoholic beverages, bakery items, horseradish, pickles and pickled vegetables, relish, sugar, tortilla, potato chips and hard candy.
Common food allergies include: Peanut allergy, Egg allergies, Wheat and grain allergy, Milk allergies, Brewer Yeast, Corn, Nuts, Pork, Strawberries, Shellfish and Fish, Tomato, Beans, Chocolate, Pickle, Cheese, Wine and beer, Avocado, Baking yeast, Coffee, Oils from peanuts, soya-beans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, corn, Sulfites and other food preservatives, MSG (Monosodium glutamate) and other food seasonings.
Get tested by your doctor who should diagnose and inform you what food you should avoid consuming. Your blood count and also several other blood tests, including the IGE allergy antibody, pulmonary function study, chest and sinus X-rays, nasal smear also a detailed symptomatic medical history and food diary review is vital to pinpoint the cause.
Puncture as in pin prick test which is (A small extract of a suspected allergen is injected beneath the skin of the upper arm, called Intradermal Testing.) carried out on the upper back and arms to find exactly which food allergy affected you.
Patch tests may also be used as well based on the Intradermal Testing results. Medical testing can also determine other allergens that are causing allergic reactions. For severe food allergies your doctor may prescribe an adrenaline injection. An EpiPen auto injector should always be carried at all times by anyone with severe food allergy. You should also keep a food diary of your eating habits and food allergy symptoms.
Try to distinguish between true food allergies and food intolerance (intolerance and food poisoning can also have similar symptoms). Read food labels carefully. Once specific food allergies have been identified, reading food labels can reduce exposure. Though, many processed food have hidden ingredients that also trigger a food allergy flare up.
Allergy Awareness Information
Teal is the official color of the awareness ribbon worn for Allergy, including Food Allergy Awareness. May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month - Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declares May to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. It's a peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers, and a perfect time to educate your patients, family, friends, co-workers and others about these diseases. In addition May 6th is World Asthma Day and May 11th to 17th is Food Allergy Awareness Week.
Food Allergy: In 2010, 37 U.S. states recognized Food Allergy Awareness Week, an initiative FAAN began in 1998, with official proclamations. This year's food allergy awareness week falls on May 10-16, 2015. In Canada May is Food Allergy Awareness Month.
Quick Facts: Allergy Reactions
People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing. Substances that often cause reactions are;
- Dust Mites
- Mold spores
- Pet dander
- Insect stings
Normally, your immune system fights germs. It is your body's defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, it is responding to a false alarm. Genes and the environment probably both play a role.
- Percent with diagnosed hay fever in the past 12 months: 7.5%.
- Percent with reported food allergies in the past 12 months: 5.6%.
- Percent with reported skin allergies in the past 12 months: 12.0%.
- Number with diagnosed hay fever in the past 12 months: 17.6 million.
- Number with reported food allergies in the past 12 months: 4.1 million.
- Number with reported skin allergies in the past 12 months: 8.8 million.
- Percent with reported respiratory allergies in the past 12 months: 10.6%.
- Number with reported respiratory allergies in the past 12 months: 7.8 million.
- Number of visits to physician offices with a primary diagnosis of allergic rhinitis: 11.1 million.
Above statistics from U.S. CDC
According to Allergy UK, one in four people in the UK suffers from an allergy at some point in their lives. The numbers are increasing every year and up to half of those affected are children.