Types of Allergies and Their Treatment Methods
WHAT IS ALLERGY AND THE MECHANISM OF ITS OCCURRENCE
Allergy, according to estimates, affects at least a third of the population of Europe, including Ukraine. The reasons for the rapid spread of this disease are considered to be a sharp change in the environment that has occurred in the past 100-200 years. Many new substances have appeared that surround us and to which our immune system must get used, and we ourselves are moving further and further from nature. Consequently, our body takes revenge on us with malfunctioning of the immune system and the occurrence of various types of allergies.
An allergy is the body’s reaction to a substance that it considers to be a dangerous agent. Although, in fact, such a substance is usually completely harmless. This can be plant pollen, dust mites, food, latex, metals, etc.
The substances that cause this immune system reaction and the symptoms that follow it are called allergens.
If you are prone to allergies, at the first contact with an allergen (for example, pollen), your body begins to produce antibodies (specific IgE ). Their job is to find allergens and block them in the body. And, at the next contact with the allergen, these antibodies provoke the release of inflammatory mediators. One of them that stands out in this situation most often is called histamine. It is he who causes most of the allergic symptoms. To know which of them are interfering with your life, read on.
POLYNOSIS AND YEAR-YEAR ALLERGIC RHINITIS
Seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever is an allergic reaction to plant pollen. It causes inflammation and swelling of the nasal mucosa and the protective tissue of the eyes (conjunctiva).
Symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes, nose, and mouth. Patients often complain of lacrimation.
You can eliminate these symptoms with the help of over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines, antileukotrienes , nasal steroids.
In some people, pollen causes symptoms of allergic asthma (wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, or tightness in the chest). With its strong manifestations, molecular biological drugs will help.
The only way to reduce symptoms is by avoiding exposure to pollen.
Stay home when the amount is too high. Close the windows and turn on the air conditioner, which requires frequent filter changes.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) can be a treatment for this and some subsequent types of allergies. It is also called allergenic immunotherapy (AIT).
Year-round allergic rhinitis is actually a household allergy caused by inhaled allergens. Those that we inhale with indoor air.
These are microscopic organisms found in the dust and fibers of fabrics such as pillows, mattresses, carpets and wallpaper. Dust mites thrive in warm, humid areas.
The symptoms of a mite allergy are very similar to those of a pollen allergy. However, they do not last during the flowering period, but all year round – with home contact with an allergen.
To eliminate it, you should use special sealed plastic or polyurethane covers that are worn on pillows and mattresses. Get rid of any carpets or clean them regularly with a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
Treatment is prescribed to control symptoms of the nose, eyes, and chest.
ASIT may be recommended if you are unable to get rid of ticks or if allergy medications are not working.
MOLD, ANIMAL DANDRUFF, LATEX
Mold is a microscopic fungus (eg, penicillus ) with spores that, like pollen, are in the air.
Mold is a common trigger for allergies. It can be found in rooms with high humidity, such as a basement, kitchen, bathroom, as well as in nature – in grass, a pile of leaves, hay or under edible mushrooms. Fungal spore levels peak in hot, humid weather.
The treatment is the same as in the first two cases.
Allergic reactions can also be caused by proteins in dandruff (epithelium) or saliva from pets. Moreover, hypoallergenic breeds of dogs or cats simply do not exist. After all, the source of allergies is precisely the scales of dead animal skin.
If you cannot part with your four-legged friend, keep him out of the bedroom, use HEPA-filtered air purifiers and bathe your pet. But this should be done with the frequency advised by the veterinarian.
Allergy to it occurs only in the case of repeated contact with the corresponding products.
These are, in particular, rubber gloves for cleaning the house or for surgical intervention. Condoms belong to the same range.
If you are allergic to latex, the following symptoms are observed:
· Skin rashes;
· Rattling or itchy skin.
Allergy symptoms may be mild. For example, skin redness and itching. More serious reactions occur when latex comes in contact with mucous membranes. For example, during an operation, dental or gynecological examination.
Treatment of such reactions begins with the elimination of contact with latex.
It develops when the body makes antibodies to certain foods. An allergic reaction occurs within a few minutes after eating certain foods. Sometimes a dangerous anaphylactic reaction can occur. She requires immediate medical attention.
In adults, the most common food allergy factors are shellfish, fish, peanuts, and other nuts. For children, this list includes eggs, milk, soy, wheat, as well as shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts.
With a food allergy, a person experiences the following symptoms:
· Shortness of breath;
· Swelling around the mouth.
The main method of treatment is the elimination of hazardous foods from the diet. If you or your child is diagnosed with a food allergy, your doctor may prescribe injectable epinephrine to help prevent an anaphylactic reaction. It can happen if you accidentally eat a forbidden food.
There are currently new treatments for peanut allergy called oral immunotherapy.
RESPONSE TO POISON INSECTS (BITES)
If you are stung by a bee, a normal reaction is pain, swelling, and redness around the sting site. A large local reaction includes edema that extends beyond the site of the sting penetration. This, for example, if an insect has bitten in a bone, and the whole leg is swollen.
The most serious reaction to a bite can also be anaphylactic. She needs immediate medical attention, in particular an adrenaline rush. You need to inject it and call an ambulance if you have the following symptoms:
· Shortness of breath;
· Generalized urticaria
· Swelling of face, mouth or throat;
· Wheezing or difficulty swallowing;
· Rapid pulse;
· Dizziness or a sudden decrease in pressure.
If you have already experienced an allergic reaction to the bite, this means that you are sensitized to insect venom. That is, his repeated attack will cause a similar reaction.
The level of antibodies to insect venom can be determined using a molecular allergy test or a prick test. In case of confirmation of allergy to poison, a course of AIT is recommended. It will greatly reduce the likelihood that a second bite will cause you a serious reaction.
ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS AND ALLERGY TO MEDICINES
It is of a different nature than the IgE- mediated allergic reactions described above. The occurrence of this type of allergy often involves the body’s cellular response. And it develops more slowly. Often – within a few days. The named disease occurs upon contact with various environmental factors. Most often – with metals, in particular, nickel. And also – with latex and other chemicals, including household ones. This list includes detergents, household chemicals, hair dyes, gel polish and other products with chemical components.
Allergy to medicines
It also has a complex developmental mechanism involving various immune mechanisms. They are generally difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat. Therefore, the main thing here is to avoid contact with the allergen.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGIES?
In order not to confuse allergy with any other disease, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with its main symptoms.
They are all classified as light, medium, and severe.
· Mild reactions include local symptoms that occur only in certain areas of the body. This is a rash, itching, lacrimation, allergic rhinitis. Mild reactions do not spread to other organs.
· Moderate reactions involve different parts of the body. Symptoms may include itching, hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
· A severe allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis. If immediate medical attention is not taken, it can result in death. The reaction starts suddenly and affects the whole body. Anaphylaxis can begin with severe itching of the eyes and face. More severe symptoms appear within a few minutes. For example, throat swelling (which causes trouble breathing and swallowing), abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, and angioedema. Dizziness may also appear as anaphylaxis causes a drop in blood pressure.
DIAGNOSTICS AND TREATMENT OF ALLERGIES
If you think you are allergic, don’t wait for the symptoms to go away on their own. If they last more than two weeks, make an appointment with your allergist.
At the clinic, you will have skin or molecular tests done to identify the causative allergens.
A skin prick test is performed by injecting a small amount of the allergen under the skin. If redness or swelling appears at the injection site, then it is this allergen that is causing the reaction.
If a skin test cannot be performed or allergens are difficult to identify, a blood test is ordered . This test measures the amount of antibodies your immune system makes. A high level of antibodies confirms the presence of an allergy.
While avoiding the allergen is an important treatment approach, it usually does not completely cure the allergy. Therefore, doctors offer the following medicines:
· Antihistamines, decongestants, or a combination thereof;
· Nasal corticosteroid and antihistamine sprays and drops.
Significantly reduce symptoms and medications for asthma if it is of an allergic nature. Their list includes:
· Inhaled bronchodilators ;
· Inhaled steroids
· Oral bronchodilators ;
· Oral antileukotrienes .
Only a doctor can pick them up.
Another option for reducing the concentration of allergens on the mucous membranes can be irrigation or, better, rinsing the nose with special solutions or salt solution.
But the most effective treatment is ASIT. This method is aimed at adapting the human body to the causative allergen. That is, while maintaining the minimum doses of the allergen, the human body gradually gets used to it. As a result, allergy symptoms diminish or disappear forever.