Now we are enjoying Spring season and waiting for summer. Spring is a season of beauty. It is a season of new beginning. Flowers bloom, Trees become green again with new leaves.
But Spring brings pollen too! Dry environment causes increased dust in air. So, Spring is also a season of allergy. Many people suffer allergic symptoms in Spring like Rainy season. Today we will try to discuss basic concept about allergy and few important precautions we should follow to control allergic symptoms.
What is allergy?
Just Google it. Wikipedia defines it very easily - “An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Symptoms such as red eyes, itchiness and runny nose, eczema, hives, or an asthma attack.”
Human body has a unique capability to recognize and destroy any particle foreign to it. It is the immune system of our body. It is a very strong process and may cause death and serious harm to our body as a hypersensitivity reaction. In hypersensitivity reaction human immune system activates against any foreign particle to which previously our body was exposed and already have antibody against that specific antigenic foreign particle.
So, May be ‘allergy’ is a common term. But it can be so much injurious to our health.
Types of allergy-
There are many types of allergy according to its etiology, such as-
- Food mediated allergy: A well variety of foods cause allergic reactions. Most of them are produced by cow's milk, peanuts, soy, eggs, wheat, tree nuts and fish. Other foods also can cause allergy but in less than 10% cases.
- Non food proteins such as latex also can cause allergic reaction in different persons.
- Locally used substances: Superficially used creams and lotions also can cause allergy to anyone. So choosing a product is very important and can differ from person to person.
- Genetic cause: Allergy may run through our gene and study shows, allergic parents are more likely to have allergic children. Identical twins are likely to have the same allergic diseases about 70% of the time; the same allergy occurs about 40% of the time in non-identical twins. (Ref: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3047903/ )
- Environmental factors: These are the most important factors that can be avoided. Exposure to a allergen is more common in urbanized population. Pollen, dust, occupational lung diseases of a farmer or a coal worker or a worker who repeatedly exposed to silica etc. are the top environmental factors of allergy. And these environmental factors are responsible for common allergic disease as allergic rhinitis, urticaria, bronchial asthma etc.
- Drugs: Some drugs like penicillin, cephalosporin, sulfa group containing drugs etc. can cause allergic reaction which may be fatal.
Other factors such as unhygienic living is also may responsible for allergy.
How to avoid allergy?
Now we know a little about allergy and we can avoid and control our allergic symptoms in 6 easy ways-
- Eat the appropriate food-: If you are allergic to some specific foods. Identify them and avoid them. Antioxidants, found in fruits, vegetables, green tea, and other foods and beverages, help to regulate inflammatory mediators inside our body and a critical factor in controlling allergies.( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19968654 )
- Choose a better product for cosmetic use.
- For seasonal allergies (allergic rhinitis, red eye etc.) avoid pollen and dust. If possible close your windows, and turn on the air conditioning.
- If your occupation is the offender try to change it. If not possible take appropriate measures to avoid allergens. You may take advices from a general practitioner regarding which type of musk or protection you should use.
- You can use some over the counter antihistamines such as ‘loratadine’ or ‘cetirizine’. These medications are used for blocking histamine receptors and inhibit histamine functions, which cause sneezing, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes. But if symptoms persist, must visit your doctor.
- Avoid offensive drugs: Some drugs are allergic to some people. If any drug prescribed by your doctor causes any kind of allergic reaction, such as rash or urticaria you must stop the drug and have an urgent visit to your physician. You should note down generic name and group name of the offender drug and tell about it to your doctor in every next visit.
It’s simple to get control over allergy. Now, we know the causes of allergy. We can avoid them easily.
Dr. Hasan Ebna Amin