Exactly what is an Allergy?
An allergy is a chronic disorder that triggers a deviant reaction to an allergen that is usually a harmless element. There two main types of allergens are aeroallergens (mold, dust mites, grass pollens, and tree weeds) and food allergens (fish proteins, soy, eggs, milk, and nuts)
If you are an allergy sufferer, your immune system perceives an allergen as an intruder and sets in motion a certain series of responses. Your body produces IgE antibodies. This type of antibody attaches itself to mast cells which causes histamine to be released.
Histamines are a part of your body’s defense system. It works by making you produce nasal secretions, tear up and sneeze to flush out the offending allergen. So, the histamine is directly responsible for the symptoms that you may be experiencing. An allergic reaction that can be summed up as an immune system overreaction to an innocuous allergen.
Allergens that usually trigger allergic responses are pollen, food, dust mites, and animal pet dander. Your immune system has the important job of protecting you from viruses and bacteria that may be trying to attack your body. Unfortunately, if you suffer from allergies, your immune system ends up working even harder.
What are the allergic symptoms that I might experience?
The most common allergic reactions are:
- Congestion (Stuffy nose)
- Runny nose
- Incessant sneezing
- Watery eyes
- Dark circles under eyes
- Itchy nose
- Itchy throat
- Itchy eyes
- Itch in the roof of mouth
- Food allergies present with different symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, respiratory problems, and anaphylaxis after ingesting an allergen.
It is also important to mention that a systematic allergic reaction can cause anaphylaxis. This condition can cause you to go into shock and constitutes a medical emergency.
You may be going into anaphylactic shock if you experience a drop in your blood pressure, develop a rash, become nauseated, vomit, or lose consciousness.
Additionally, it is crucial to note that a number of health conditions could be related to allergies:
- Asthma, allergic conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis can reveal an allergy to airborne allergens like fungal spores, dust mites, and pollen.
- If you have been diagnosed with urticaria you may have food allergies.
- Eczema and atopic eczema can be exacerbated by dust mites.
Can I anticipate when I may have an allergic reaction?
Unfortunately, you cannot predict when your allergies will flare up. However, when they do show up, they can certainly affect your quality of life and well-being.
The reason why allergy reactions are so unpredictable is that you never know when you may come into contact with an allergen and your immune system will go into overdrive. Your immune system produces antibodies in response to the allergen.
If you are exposed to that allergen again, the antibodies release histamine to combat the invading allergen. These in turn produce the allergy symptoms mentioned above, culminating in an allergic reaction.
What are the most common kinds of allergies?
There is potentially an infinite number of allergies that can affect your body, primarily because they are individualistic in nature. Here are the most common ones:
- Food allergy
- Dust allergy
- Skin allergy
- Insect sting allergies
- Drug allergies
- Pet allergies
- Hay fever
- Material allergy (e.g. latex and nickel)
Some conditions that are allergy-related are as follows:
- Allergic Conjunctivitis
- Allergic Rhinitis
Are allergies hereditary?
Yes, allergies can be genetically inherited. It is possible that if you have an allergic condition and someone else in your family has as well. Research shows that allergies are more prevalent among people with an atopic background. Also, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema also run in families.
Children usually suffer from allergies more than adults do. However, allergies can surface at any age, go into remission, and reappear again.
How can I tell I have allergies?
Allergies can affect any part of your body.
Skin allergies can manifest as itching and swelling on any part of your body, but your eyes, mouth, and lips are particularly susceptible.
With respiratory tract allergies, you can expect coughing, sneezing, runny nose, nasal irritation, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Allergies that target your gastrointestinal tract usually cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramps.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic response that can be life-threatening if emergency measures are not taken. Symptoms include swelling of the throat, eyes, and mouth, difficulty breathing, wheezing, rashes, and a drop in blood pressure.
Patients usually start experiencing symptoms within mere minutes after exposure to a harmful allergen. If you feel any of the symptoms mentioned above seek medical attention immediately.
If you have had anaphylactic episodes before you should find out what you are allergic to. You should schedule an allergy test right away. You should also always have an emergency adrenalin pen on hand in case you have an allergic reaction.
What kind of allergy test is right for me?
There are a few allergy Singapore tests that you can choose from these include blood tests and skin prick tests. Before your doctor performs your allergy test, he will ask you questions about your family history, lifestyle and any other pertinent information that would help him or her decide which allergy test is most suitable. You will also be given a full explanation regarding the advantages and disadvantages of each allergy test. This way you will be able to make an informed decision regarding the best test for your allergy.
Can my allergies be cured?
Allergies are a chronic condition which suggests that there is no cure per se. However, preventative measures are effective against allergies. Once identified you should try to avoid the allergens that prove problematic.
Unfortunately, sometimes allergens are inescapable. At this point, you should consider this potential cure.
Allergen immunotherapy has been gaining momentum as a long-term treatment. It has proven effective in patients who are suffering from conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis, insect sting allergies, and other kinds of allergies.
Allergy immunotherapy works by decreasing your sensitivity to the errant allergens. This effective allergy treatment works by slowly introducing allergens in small dosages at first and increasing the dosage over time. It can be administered orally and via injection shots. This treatment offers long-lasting relief even after treatment is discontinued. Allergy immunotherapy is a treatment that most people can benefit from.
If you suspect that you have an allergy, we recommend that you make an appointment with your doctor.
At our clinic, we customize our treatments to address the individual requirements of each patient. We are aware that one size most certainly does not fit all thus allergy treatment is ‘tailored-made’ according to what our patients are allergic to.
We will work with you to ensure that you get the relief that you need.