Millions of people around the world suffer from allergies and its resultant symptoms. Allergic reactions are as simple as the fact that if you find yourself sniffing in the summertime or sneezing while spring cleaning, it may be because you are allergic to something in the air.
Many people never bother to seek a definite medical diagnosis for their allergies, because these may not be serious enough, and may not require medical treatment. As many allergic reactions can be fatal, it is a wonder why most people are not worried about what they could be allergic from. For most of us who sniffle and sneeze our way through life our symptoms just doesn't bother us much.
However for many millions of people in the world these same symptoms and reactions to substances and these allergies may seriously interfere with their ability to enjoy life and may prove to be fatal in cases, hindering them in many ways in the course of their lives. Naturally such people usually want some form of treatment, perhaps an over-the-counter remedy, which might possibly help them lead a normal life.
There are also a few people, for whom allergy is a serious, and a very dangerous condition that needs expert medical attention and constant vigilance in order to prevent a life threatening allergic reaction, due to some allergen. The diagnosis of allergies has however been very hard even though they are quite common and many people seem to be affected. Because allergies may often be mistaken for other chronic and debilitating conditions such as digestive and intestinal failures, a proper diagnosis must first take care of correctly pointing out the cause.
Almost all complaints of allergies by patients to their doctors contain the following symptoms:
Most symptoms seem to be respiratory or nasal in provenance and mostly of the type associated with a head cold or reactions such as hay fever - these may include watery eyes, a running nose and uncontrollable sneezing, other problems such as those that have to do with the sinuses and things like headaches manifested in a pain in the forehead.
There could be shortness in breath and wheezing - especially during exhalation and things like tightness in the chest, and a hard time exhaling properly. Though a variety of other conditions may cause these, they are in fact the typical symptoms of asthma. Though there is not always a connection between asthma and allergy.
Other symptoms of allergy are very itchy hives or rashes, and other irritations of the skin. One of the first things the person will suspect will be a food allergy or skin sensitivity to a chemical substance, perhaps something as common as suntan lotion. Other symptoms may be internal and include diarrhea, chronic indigestion, and sudden feelings of nausea. The first suspicion of the patient is usually some form of food allergy.
Symptoms may include headache, irritability, and physical fatigue. A suspicion may arise in the person that something in the food or in the air has caused these symptoms to appear.
Many patients suffering from symptoms of an allergy may not necessarily make the connection, and it is because most symptoms that come along with allergies are the ones that are at the top of the list in given above. Such symptoms as fatigue, recurrent headaches, or a feeling of jumpiness probably would not make the person suspect that they have an allergy since there are a variety of reasons and conditions that can bring these out in the human body and understandably most people will not approach an allergy specialist for these.
However it is now very much in medical thinking that a variety of such symptoms may in fact be caused by a reaction to an allergen or an allergy like condition and the resultant physical and internal intolerance of the body to certain substances.
Very fortunately most sufferers from allergies do seem to indicate a common pattern in the symptoms and the development history of the allergy and therefore a medical practitioner is able to give a quick and ready diagnosis of the reasons behind most allergies by the simple expedient of asking the correct questions at the right time, such an approach can also lead to a rapid identification of the allergen causing the allergy.
And hence time and effort are not wasted in the diagnosis and the treatment offered by the doctor handling the case, this has been possible because of the number of people making complaints about allergies and what could be learnt from their case histories.
If both your parents suffered from any form of allergy or reacted badly to certain types of allergens, then the chances of your suffering from such allergic reactions are increased, there is therefore a genetic and an inherited component in the development of allergies.
For example respiratory allergic reactions typically will have symptoms and certain physical signs that indicate allergy including swollen, darkened eyes, where eyes become almost black. Patterns may also be identified by the person who is allergic, by seeing the same symptoms appear again and repeat themselves as they suffer through the allergic reaction.
This is usually the first clue that tells a person that they are allergic to some specific substance or stimulus. Especially in cases where the allergy may have a seasonal component, may come on when they are in a particular area or when they eat certain food stuff's.
Therefore the substance known as antihistamines are prescribed by doctor's and this tells the person may have had an allergic reaction to some foreign substance, antihistamines and similar chemicals block allergic reactions and aid in minimizing the reactions and the symptoms that come with allergies, when a particular symptom is identified it becomes very probable that some allergen is involved in manufacturing it.
That is the reason that our knowledge about allergens and allergies has largely come into the picture because of the evidence gathered from the trials and the errors involved in people who have developed allergies.
The immune system is the part of the body that triggers the allergic reaction in a person, it is the job of the immune system to recognize and fight against the allergen, and the external factor that brings on the reaction, it is a very complex system and is the first to recognize the presence of allergens inside the body.
The onset of an allergic reaction can therefore be said to be a mistake made by the body's defenses in identification and control, nonetheless the body reacts immediately and vigorously, to at times seemingly very harmless substances.
A good example, is that of a family cat, where most members in a family may not react to a cat except a daughter who may react violently after a few weeks or months passes and may begin to sneeze and wheeze anytime she is around the cat. In this case this person has suffered an allergic reaction to the cat dander and her immune system has for some reason recognized a substance that is seemingly harmless to everyone else as being an irritant.
She, is therefore sensitive to cat dander. For some inexplicable reason her body reacts to the harmless cat hair as if the substance were pneumonia bacteria or even some other life threatening substance, this is how allergies develop. Her immunity has gone haywire.
The immune system has thus made a mistake and the allergic reactions are the products of that mistake, these reactions of the immune system, seem to appear from the body's protective reaction to ward off parasites. In fact parasites and allergens are fought off by the immune system in very similar ways. Essentially a large production of antibodies called immunoglobulins E (IgE) is begun in the body. Other types of immune reactions lead to the production of different classes of substances.