Allergy is considered to be a disease of the immune system. A healthy body copes well with various viruses and bacteria that enter it. But sometimes a malfunction occurs, and absolutely safe substances are perceived as pathogenic. In this case, an allergy occurs. To date, the causes of the disease are not fully known, but recently there has been an increase in the number of cases of the disease. This is associated with the deterioration of the environment, the use of many chemicals in everyday life, and a decrease in the quality of food. Allergy provocateurs can be a variety of substances.
The disease can occur in many parts of the body and take significantly different forms. Allergens are often completely safe for some people, while others cause illness. According to the method of the disease provocateur entering the body and by its appearance, several types are distinguished:
Food allergy. It occurs when eating certain foods. The most common irritants are egg white, citrus fruits, food additives and preservatives. Since the pathogen enters the body through the gastrointestinal tract, abdominal pain is often present among the symptoms of the disease.
Drug allergy. It is easiest to identify as it appears almost immediately after taking medication. The deterioration of the condition is not always a manifestation of the disease. This reaction of the body may be normal to the action of certain drugs.
Reaction to insect bites. In these cases, the allergy is associated with the ingestion of poison into the body. In our strip, bees, wasps, ants should beware. In a healthy person, bites cause redness and inflammation of varying severity, which quickly pass. With allergies, the processes are severe, even anaphylactic shock is possible.
The most common type of illness is reaction to animals. Allergies can be caused by pets: cats, dogs, birds and rodents; also with large or small ruminants: cows, goats, horses. The main pathogens are: wool, saliva, urine of animals.
Allergy to pollen and dust. As a rule, this type of ailment is seasonal. So, in spring, a strong bloom begins, and a lot of pollen appears in the air. In cases of dust, a dust mite is dangerous, which cannot be detected with the naked eye.
Reactions to cold and sun. In these cases, the disease is called pseudo-allergy, since there is no pathogen. The predominantly reaction is that the immune system accepts changes when exposed to low temperatures or sunlight as a disease-causing invasion.
Allergy during pregnancy. Almost all women carrying a child are faced with symptoms of the disease. This is due to strong hormonal changes in the body.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine the type of allergy. But an experienced doctor, using special methods, will be able to guess the pathogen with a high probability. Unfortunately, there is no analysis that can guarantee 100% accuracy.
The signs of the disease completely depend on the place that the irritating factor affects. After interacting with it, immunoglobulin is produced in the body, which is why the disease develops. As a rule, signs of illness appear quickly and suddenly. Allergy symptoms are:
Cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, feeling short of breath.
Itching in the nose and profuse discharge.
Cutting eyes, with violent lachrymation.
Skin redness, peeling, rashes are possible.
Numbness of the tongue, tingling in the mouth.
Nausea, vomiting, stool disorder.
In severe cases, the disease can lead to acute allergic reactions, such as anaphylactic shock. If you do not take urgent measures, then a lethal outcome is possible. The manifestation of an allergy is characterized by a local effect, the disease is activated only in places of contact with an irritant. With anaphylactic shock, the entire body is affected. Allergy symptoms in this case are as follows:
Severe abdominal cramps, vomiting.
Swelling of the throat and mouth.
Loss of consciousness, severe dizziness.
It becomes very difficult to swallow.
Decreased blood pressure.
Redness and severe itching of the skin in different parts of the body.
Great and sudden weakness.
Anaphylactic shock requires urgent professional medical attention. Therefore, having found such signs of the disease, it is necessary to call an ambulance as quickly as possible.
Causes of occurrence
Until the end, the factors causing the disease have not yet been studied. A person may not notice the allergen for a long time, while specific reactions will not be observed. At some point, the immune system accepts this irritant as dangerous, and begins to produce antibodies. With repeated contact with the pathogen, symptoms and signs of allergy appear. The reasons for this may be:
hair or skin particles of pets;
some food items;
spores of fungi and mold.
It is believed that signs of allergy are most often caused by a malfunction of the immune system. But there may be other factors that affect the onset of the disease:
Diseases of the digestive tract. In this case, allergens are not digested, as in a healthy body, but enter the bloodstream.
Pathology in the liver. If she begins to not cope with her cleansing functions, the risk of illness increases greatly.
Renal failure Violation of the excretory function can lead to allergies.
In children, the disease often develops when switching to artificial feeding. In addition, if the mother abuses allergenic foods, such as citrus fruits, eggs, chocolate or coffee, during gestation, the child becomes susceptible to this disease. The expectant mother must definitely give up smoking and alcohol, which can affect the immune system of the fetus.
In many cases, allergies are hereditary. In this case, the type of irritant in parents and children, as a rule, is the same. One cannot but take into account professional activity: hairdressers, sellers of household chemicals, workers in dusty industries are at risk.
In the modern world, the ecology is severely violated. Various pesticides are found in:
This state of affairs can lead to sensitization. At the same time, it can be quite difficult to determine the causes of the appearance of signs of allergy, although this is very important for proper treatment.
Which doctor will help?
Unfortunately, many people mistakenly consider this disease to be harmless. They try to get rid of symptoms on their own, especially if the ailment is seasonal. This not only does not give positive results, but also causes significant complications. Therefore, if you find signs of allergies in yourself, you need to see a doctor. It will help you:
First of all, the doctor will conduct a detailed survey. At the reception, he will try to find out:
How long ago did the disease appear?
Have there been similar cases in the past?
How are the signs of ailment expressed?
What irritants, according to the patient, could cause the allergy?
Which of the relatives suffered from similar ailments?
The nature of the patient’s work.
The presence of chronic infections.
In addition, the doctor will need to find out the nature of the stool, whether there is nausea or vomiting, what other health complaints the patient has. Based on this, the specialist can draw up a preliminary opinion about the possible irritant and its specifics. For a more accurate diagnosis, additional studies are carried out:
Skin tests. During their implementation, the alleged pathogen is applied to the patient’s body. After that, the skin is scratched. In case of a negative reaction, it can be considered that the cause of the allergy has been found. In this case, reddening of the skin occurs, rounded swelling is possible. As a rule, several allergens are used at once, from 2 to 25, distributing them in different areas of the skin. Research gives results in 20-25 minutes.
Blood test for IgE. With its help, the amount of antibodies is determined. Their excessive increase indicates the presence of the disease. This method cannot be considered completely reliable, since an increase in antibodies in the blood can be associated with other ailments.
Skin or application tests. During them, metal discs covered with a layer of paraffin or petroleum jelly with the addition of various allergens are attached to the patient’s back. After 48 hours, the plates are removed and the skin underneath is examined. If changes are not detected immediately, re-examination is carried out after another 2 days. This method is most often used to detect contact dermatitis or eczema.
Provocative tests. Unfortunately, none of the listed methods can identify the causative agent of the reaction with a 100% guarantee. There is only one way – to introduce a suspected irritant into the patient’s body and observe the symptoms of allergy. According to exacerbation of reactions or their absence, an appropriate conclusion is made. Such a study should be performed only under the supervision of doctors in special medical institutions, as it poses a certain danger.
How it is usually treated depends on its type
At the moment, medicine cannot offer a single therapy for the appearance of allergy symptoms. The main requirement is the exclusion of patient contacts with irritants. For the treatment of the disease are used:
Antihistamines. These medicines are considered the most common in the fight against ailment. When they are taken, there is a side effect – severe drowsiness. Therefore, you need to change your lifestyle, for example, not to drive a car.
Desensitization. With this method, the patient is injected with gradually increasing doses of the allergen, which develops a persistent reaction to the stimulus.
Autolymphocytotherapy. Leukocytes in the patient’s blood are exposed to irritants that cause allergic reactions. Due to this, antibodies are produced, which, upon repeated contact with pathogens, block their action.
Such methods of treating allergies can be used in the early stages of the disease. In more severe cases, urgent therapy is needed, since the disease begins to threaten the patient’s life. For example, with anaphylactic shock, an allergy develops within a few minutes. If you do not take action, then in most cases, death occurs.
Depending on the signs of allergy, different therapies can be used:
With inflammation of the respiratory tract, drugs are used to relieve swelling of the nasopharynx and oral cavity.
In cases of food allergy, treatment can be aimed at normalizing the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, which will lead to the early removal of the irritant from the body.
For severe forms of any type of allergy, glucocorticosteroid drugs have fully proven their effectiveness. The latest generation of these drugs has almost no side effects, so many people are unjustified in their negative attitude towards them.
Treatment should only be prescribed by an experienced physician after an accurate determination of the allergen. Only in this case, you can count on a positive result of therapy. It must be remembered that allergies in the early stages are much easier to treat than in advanced cases. Therefore, it is important to seek help as soon as possible when the first signs of illness appear.