What causes allergies? | Live Science
Wondering what causes allergies and if there is a cure? Well, allergies are exaggerated immune reactions to foreign substances. They can cause many physical symptoms that depend on the degree of immune response and how the body enters the body.
The global prevalence of allergies is increasing and about 30-40% of the world’s population may have a specific allergy, according to the patient advocacy group, the Global Patient Platform for Allergies and Respiratory Tract.
Allergies can affect all age groups and can be triggered in response to common things such as foods, medications, plant or animal products.
People with allergies can develop a rash, swelling and congestion of the upper respiratory tract when exposed to pollen or dust.
In this article, you will learn about the causes of allergies and how you can manage them at home.
How do allergies start?
According to Medical News Today, allergies are caused by allergens, which are foreign substances that are generally not harmful, except in people genetically predisposed to developing an exaggerated immune response.
Allergens stimulate the immune system to produce a specific set of antibodies (proteins that bind to specific substances). These antibodies in turn trigger the release of chemicals such as histamine from mast cells. The combination of these chemicals produces physical symptoms like itchy, puffy eyes, red eyes, etc. that people with allergies complain about. For example, IgE antibodies are primarily responsible for food allergies, according to a study published in the journal Nature Reviews Immunology.
The type of allergen and the mode of entry into the body determine the external physical manifestation of allergies. For example, exposure to skin allergens causes itchy, swelling, and burning skin, while pollen allergens can cause a runny nose, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.
Here are some common allergens, according to Health Line:
- Food: Peanuts, eggs and shellfish
- Drugs: penicillins, drugs containing sulfur
- Insect bites like bees, wasps
- Plant products such as pollen from grasses and trees
- Animal materials such as animal dander
A person can be hypersensitive to one or more of these allergens, which can lead to anaphylaxis – a life-threatening allergic reaction caused by an excessive response of the immune system to a specific allergen.
Anaphylaxis is characterized by low blood pressure, difficulty breathing and severe skin reactions, according to the doctor. Mayo Clinic. This is a medical emergency requiring rapid hospital treatment.
Can we cure allergies?
There is no cure for allergies, but a few food allergies that children develop in infancy may be overcome, according to a 2014 survey conducted by the North American Immunology and Allergy Clinics. The study showed that children who were initially allergic to milk in their infancy became more tolerant of milk. Some children also overcome early childhood allergies to foods like eggs.
Allergies can be managed using several methods, but one of the most effective ways, as a study in the journal found Adolescent medicine, is to identify your allergens and avoid exposing yourself to them.
Here are some tips for reducing exposure to household allergens, according to Health Line:
- Install dehumidifiers to reduce wet surfaces in the home.
- Replace rugs with ceramic tiles for floors.
- Decrease exposure to pets.
- Install HEPA filters to remove airborne allergens.
Medications such as antihistamines are effective against itching, runny nose and swelling of the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.
People who are severely allergic to airborne allergens may need allergy shots. These allergy shots contain a weak form of an allergen that is injected into the body to cause the immune system to trigger an immunological response when exposed to the allergen later on.
For example, in people who are allergic to pollen, a small concentration of a pollen allergen is injected into the body to train the immune system to create antibodies against this substance. On subsequent exposure to pollen, these already made antibodies clear the pollen before the rest of the immune system can be activated. A review study on the efficacy of allergic immunotherapy for the control of asthma conducted in University of Edinburgh, have shown that allergy shots are able to reduce asthma symptoms, but side effects have been associated. Therefore, the risk and benefit are taken into account before administration of allergy immunotherapy, preferably by a specialist.
Can allergies cause a sore throat?
Allergies cause a sore throat when airborne allergens stimulate immune cells in the nose. This leads to an immune response which results in the production of thick mucus and secretions in the nasal cavity. This results in post-nasal drip, or an itchy or itchy sensation associated with sore throat when thick mucus drains from the back of the nasal cavity into the throat. Postnasal drip can also lead to itchy nose, congestion, swelling of the eyes, sneezing, or coughing..
Allergies vs COVID-19: what’s the difference?
Allergies and COVID-19 can share common characteristics and symptoms such as cough and nasal congestion, but there are subtle differences between them. However, if you have symptoms consistent with allergies, getting tested for COVID-19 is essential as many symptoms overlap and you can unintentionally spread the deadly coronavirus if you assume your symptoms are caused by symptoms. allergies.
The following factors differentiate allergies from COVID-19, depending on the Mayo Clinic:
Causative agent: COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus. Infectious organisms do not cause allergies.
Transmission mode: COVID-19 is spread when an infected person releases infectious respiratory droplets when they sneeze, cough, speak or breathe, according to the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention (CDC). In contrast, allergies are not contagious, and the respiratory droplets of an allergic person do not contain any infectious organisms.
Clinical symptoms: According to CDC, COVID-19 triggers symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, muscle pain, and loss of smell and taste, which are usually absent in allergies. Note: Anaphylaxis can cause breathing difficulties. In contrast, allergy symptoms such as persistent itching and watery eyes are not associated with COVID-19.
Processing: While allergies are treated with medication and prevention measures like avoiding allergy triggers, the best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get vaccinated against the disease.
What are the causes of allergies: an overview
Allergies are caused by allergens and can be found in certain foods, airborne particles, drugs, animal dander, etc.
Allergy symptoms are easily managed with medication and preventative measures to avoid the allergens. Seek medical advice and clinical evaluation if you are prone to allergies.