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Allergies are a very common medical issue. Allergies can range anywhere from relatively mild to severe enough to require emergency medical attention. Allergies, such as air born allergies, are typically the body’s reaction to an irritant such as dust, molds, pet dander, or pollen. Food allergies can often cause serious reactions, including anaphylaxis, which is an allergy so sever that the patient may cease breathing. Most people with allergies have simple air born allergies. Allergies can affect as many as 1 out of 2 people, although some people are completely unaware of their allergies.


Allergies come with a host of various symptoms which include but are not limited to runny nose, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, scratchy throat, eye irritation, the feeling of having a chronic cold or flu, and a tightened airway. Food allergies or allergies to medications can often come with symptoms which are much more severe including hives, difficulty breathing, swelling, diarrhea, tearing, a rash or itching, and sometimes difficulty breathing. Medicine allergies often present with facial swelling, a swollen throat, sweating, difficulty breathing, and irregular or rapid heart rhythms.


Allergies are caused by the body’s response to what it has determined as alien. The body’s immune system does not recognize the allergen as something which the body can tolerate and the brain sends signals to the body to want to release the allergen back out of the body. Most allergies are hereditary, although the genes that cause the allergies do not necessarily mean that any two members of one family are likely to be allergic to the same thing, just that they are more likely to develop an allergy to something.

There have been numerous studies done which consider the risk factors for allergies, though very few are actually conclusive. Some suggest that not exposing your children to the basic pollens, dander, and parasites that they are likely to come in contact with as they grow do not allow the immune system the chance to recognize allergens as a tolerable substance. Thus, the latest studies recommend allowing young children and babies to be more regularly exposed to regular allergens such as dust, molds, pollen, and pet dander. This is still just a theory for now, but there are very few various risk factors to explain why there has been a significant increase in allergy sufferers in the past twenty years.
Image: Allergies

Other test and studies have determined that allergies are more likely to develop due to the increase in various chemical exposures, including immunizations and the overuse of antibiotics. The Western world and other Westernized cultures have a far greater tendency for allergies than nations who are more natural to their environment.


Skin tests and blood test, along with patient interviews, are the best determining factors for doctors to diagnose allergies. Allergists, which specialize in allergies and their related symptoms, are most often the doctor to see when an allergy is suspected. Blood test are simple test, just like any other blood test, which screens the blood for allergen indicators. Skin tests are done, usually on the patient’s back, and simply require a few scratches on the skin with a needle dipped in the common allergens. Allergy skin tests can run anywhere from 12 to 100 various skin scratches. Each allergen solution is scratched into the patient’s back with a clean needle. Those which the patient shows a sensitivity to will become swollen and itchy within a few short minutes. This can determine the allergists recommended treatment options based on which allergens affected the patient.

Some people opt for prescription or over the counter medication when dealing with allergies. Most are antihistamines, which block the histamines from causing the body’s reactions such as itching, watery eyes, sneezing, and cough. Other patients opt for allergy shots. Which when taken over a fairly long period of time (18 months to 5 years) can reduce the patient’s susceptibility to allergies and relieve the patient from having to chronically cope with allergies.


Of course, despite treatment, one of the best ways to avoid allergic reactions is to avoid potential situations which will cause an allergic reaction. If food causes the allergen, that particular food should be avoided, as well as when that food is used as an ingredient in other foods. The same applies to medicine allergies. Simply not taking that medication or a medication with same basic ingredient is likely to alleviate the allergy.

For air born allergens, keeping pets away from bedrooms and opting for flooring over carpet are two basic ways to cope with allergies. Keeping a home particularly clean can help an allergy sufferer feel better, as well as eliminating draperies and heavy fabrics that tend to collect dust.

Allergies can be a chronic battle. The best way to deal with them is to avoid as much exposure to allergens as possible and to work together with an allergist to find a medication or treatment option that is likely to alleviate the allergy symptoms.
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