Your formals are all ironed with no crease visible. You are donning a well-groomed gentleman’s image. And to add a cherry on the cake i.e. to give one last finishing to your get-up; you pour some sprays of perfume on your shirt to smell good and refreshed to people. There completes your formal look for your afternoon meeting. But this one last touch-up may and may not be soothing for other people. You may find people in your office who’ll sneeze continuously by the time you keep standing beside them. This is because they are ALLERGIC to such fragrance.
ALLERGIC? What’s that? When a person is allergic it means that the person has some kind of allergy. Yeah well, I know that definition didn’t help you much unless and until you know the meaning of the word ALLERGY. Allergy is a reaction from a person’s body towards some substance or some change in the ambiance or environment of that person. And that substance or change is not considered to be harmful to most of the other people.
The substance that causes such a reaction i.e. those evoke allergies in any person are called ALLERGENS. Some of the typical examples of allergens are – pollens, animal dander (material shed from animals’ body that has fur, feathers, etc.), medications, insects venom (after some insects bite anyone), molds, dust mites, ticks and some foods like mushrooms, egg, peanuts, etc.
Having said that, I would like to ask you whether you are allergic to anything or not? Do you know what causes allergy to you? In-fact do you even know the way of knowing whether someone is allergic to any particular substance or not? In a nutshell, we will now discuss various allergic reactions or you can say symptoms in which a person’s body can show its allergic reactions.
Allergic reactions or symptoms with causes
Such symptoms are visible or felt within just a few minutes of exposure of one’s body to allergens but sometimes it may take hours to show up some reactions. Allergies are mostly mild and will just hamper your activities by irritating you for some time but in rare cases, people may suffer from severe reactions. There can be a single cause or synergy of causes. The reason behind allergy varies from person to person.
Some of the common and mild reactions along with their causes are listed here-
1. Allergic Rhinitis– This is also called ‘Hay Fever’. It occurs when allergens are present in the air. Stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy and runny nose, red and watering eyes and swelling around the eyes. Are some of the reactions from the body in allergic rhinitis?
2. Conjunctivitis– This is a kind of eye inflammation in which eyes of a person turns red, watery, itchy and may also tend to give burning sensation near your tear duct. People with such an allergic reaction got puffy eyes. Household dust, pollen grains, animals dander, etc. with which your eyes may come in contact causes conjunctivitis.
3. Wheezing– It is when your airway narrows down then you make some rattling sound while breathing. Commonly asthma patients suffer from these symptoms but sometimes it can also signal towards some allergy. Shortness of breath is caused by exposure to pollen, dust mites and air irritants like smoke, fumes of chemicals, pungent or strong odors or maybe any weather conditions that affect your breathing.
4. Hives– These are red, itchy and raised skin rashes that are caused by some allergens may on the whole of the body or some particular part of your body. Various causes for this kind of allergic reaction can be medications like antibiotics; food items like eggs, milk, wheat products, nuts, etc.; infections like the common cold; high body temperature, latex, pollens, and some chemicals.
5. Swollen face– Swollen face means swollen cheeks area, swollen lips, puffy eyes with enlarged tongue. This is also a form of Angioedema which means swelling which happens deep inside one’s skin of the face. Triggers for this can be food, medication and most commonly bite from insect i.e. insect venom.
6. Stomach cramps– This type of allergy causes pain in one’s tummy, inflammation in inner walls of the stomach and that causes a feeling of vomiting and thus leads to the sickening of the person with diarrhoea.
The allergic reactions that get severe with time are called anaphylaxis. Such allergies are also caused by the same reasons as food, infection, dust, mites, pollens, etc. it is just that the reaction of the body to these allergens gets exaggerated in cases of certain people. Mild allergic reactions may just hamper your work but these may also have life-threatening. Such reactions must be given due and immediate care like the prescribed medication.
Why does it happen?
Why your body does react in a certain way when you are exposed to some allergens? What triggers such responses from one’s body? Well, to state it in a chronological order
When an allergen enters your body, your antibody reactions start. When these antibodies come in contact with any of the allergens a chemical is released from the mast cells to which these antibodies are attached. And this chemical in your body results in inflammation and other symptoms like swelling of eyes, face, etc., rashes on the skin, stomach ache, etc. This tendency of developing such an immune system is usually genetic which is called ATOPY. The immune system comes into play when such a person is exposed to allergens.
Generally, allergic reactions are involuntary and people cannot control them. However, these reactions can be avoided or minimized with the right knowledge of the reason behind one’s allergy. When a person knows about his/her allergen then steps must be taken to reduce the amount of that allergen in one’s ambience. Some other treatments include antihistamines (blocking the release of the chemical that causes body reactions), allergy immunotherapy (long term treatment to change the reaction of the immune system to allergens) or other medications like medicated eye drops, etc.