Allergies

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to ordinarily harmless substance or substances. These sensitizing substances, called allergens, may be inhaled, swallowed or come into contact with the skin. When an allergen is absorbed into the body it triggers white blood cells to produce IgE antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to mast cells causing release of potent chemical mediators such as histamine, causing typical allergic symptoms. A person who has allergies doesn't have a poor immune system, rather an over protective one. Their immune system fights the allergen when it comes in contact with it even though the allergen isn't harmful.
To diagnose allergies a physician will clean the person's back with alcohol, then mark it with an ink pen according to each substance going to tested. They are extracts of potential allergens in small vials. A drop of these is put on the corresponding mark on your skin, and then a needle is used to prick the skin. It breaks the surface of the skin so that the extract can enter. If an extract provokes an allergic reaction, the patient will develop an irritation that may look like a mosquito bite. The ones which promote reactions are the ones in which the person is allergic to and needs to get medication for.
Allergies are quite common. An estimated 50 to 60 million Americans, about one of every five adults and children, suffer from allergies, including allergic asthma. Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States. More than 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, for instance, and this is only one form of allergy. Millions more suffer from food allergies, allergies to medications, and even contact dermatitis (a type of allergic reaction that occurs when your skin comes into contact with an irritating substance).
Allergies have a genetic component. If only one parent has allergies, chances are one in three that each child will have an allergy. If both parents have allergies, it is much more likely (7 in 10) that their children will have allergies.
Although any environmental material can cause allergies, certain ones are encountered more frequently than are others. Inhalants such as pollens, mold spores, animal products (dander, saliva, urine), house dust, and house dust mites are very common allergies. There are Foods such as cow's milk, eggs, chicken, shellfish, whitefish, peanuts, soybeans, wheat products, chocolate, celery, and all products containing one or more of these ingredients. Some individuals are allergic to food additives, such as sulfites (used as a preservative), nitrates, and others. There are people who are allergic to drugs such as penicillin. Substances which touch the skin can also cause allergic reactions, which include plant oils, cosmetics and perfumes, nickel in jewelry or on buckles and under garment fasteners, hair dyes, topical medications including their additives.
One unusual reaction is the severe allergic reactions caused by direct contact with latex found in gloves, catheters, condoms, dental dams, and other medical devices. These disorders are reportedly caused by allergy to a protein in the latex.
The best pets, for a person with allergies, are turtles, hermit crabs, fish, snakes or any animal that does not have hair and dander.
The Allergies in nature throughout the United States vary when they occur in the different parts of the country. In the Northeast (where we live) they go as follows: trees are from March to June, grasses are from May to August, and ragweed is from August to October (except northern tips of Maine and Michigan).
There are 3 main steps in the treatment of allergies: avoid the specific allergen, medication (drugs can be taken for the target organ affected), and Immunotherapy is appropriate in some, but not all, allergy conditions.
The types of medication used in helping the allergies in people are Steroids (reduce the inflammation or swelling of the nasal tissue), Antihistamines (counteract the histamine released in the body which causes the many symptoms), Bronchodilators (relieve difficulty in breathing), and Decongestants (reduce the congestion). These don't actually cure allergies but they can reduce the effects of them.
Antihistamines are used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and other allergies. They work by preventing the effects of histamine, a substance produced by the body during an allergic reaction. Antihistamines come in tablet, capsule, liquid, or