Understanding Allergies

Allergy is any hypersensitivity reaction of the body to substances that are even considered to be harmless. It is also considered to be an exaggerated response of the body wherein the body overreacts. The substance that is responsible in eliciting an allergic response is called an allergen. Allergens can be common such as dust, pollen and certain foods, or they can be complex ones such as various types of drugs.

Immune System
In order for us to understand the nature of allergies, we need to have a closer look into our immune system. Just like a state, our body must have soldiers that will battle anything that will impose harm. These soldiers are the cells of our immune system, commonly grouped according to their specific functions. When a harmful intruder enters your body, a warning signal will be sent to the immune system that there is an impending attack. The army will be activated and thus the cells will go in the battle field to crush the enemy.

Allergic Reaction, a False Alarm
During an allergic reaction, however, this response is exaggerated and uncontrolled. Even something harmless is thought to be harmful, thus the response can lead to adverse reactions, not intended to be as a defense but more so as something detrimental to the body. From people without allergies, no abnormal responses can be observed. However, those that do suffer from allergies are not at all benefiting from those hyper physiologic responses; they are, well, just false-alarms.

Allergens
Now that you know the nature of an allergy, it is now time to know the specific causes and, especially, on how to treat them. But before that, please remember that allergies can be hereditary and this is by far the most significant factor among all causes.

First in our line of causes are substances from the environment that can trigger allergic reactions such as dust, pollens, certain fumes or chemicals. Even a cat's hair (containing dander) can even trigger an allergic reaction, so be cautious next time you visit a pet shop.

Foods can also be sources of some allergens. Nuts, sea foods, eggs, and milk can cause allergies the very same way environmental allergens do. A simple dish from a restaurant can have ingredients that you may be allergic to. Shrimps added to salads and nuts mixed with some desserts can be the culprits in disguise. So, if you know that you are allergic to certain things, know what you eat; ask that waiter to describe all the ingredients of the dish you are ordering. A simple question can prevent the disaster!

Prevention
As allergies are unpredictable to occur, prevention will always be the best medicine. Stay away from your allergens and keep yourself always aware of potential risks of acquiring an allergy. Really know what specific substances you are allergic to and stay away from these as much as possible. Know the food you eat or, better yet, prepare your own food.

Treatments
However, if an allergy attack is already present and your body begins to react to this, there are several ways to treat this.

There are many drugs available that have specific effects in controlling an allergy ranging from antihistamines and glucocorticoids to other drugs that prevent the activation of cells involved in an allergic reaction. As allergies can be simple or can be complex that it can affect other body systems, it is best to ask for advice of a doctor or a medical practitioner. A doctor can clearly identify the specific cause and thus will prescribe the right medicine.

Another way to effectively solve an allergic attack is to alter the immune system from responding inaccurately. The aim is to alter the sensitivity of the immune system so as not to have an exaggerated response. Vaccines are widely used; however, it will also be best to consult the doctor about these.

Allergies are just simple medical conditions that are easy to understand and prevent. Simply know the substance you are allergic to and stay away from them. Know your foods and consult your doctor for the right medicines to take.

 


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