Allergies Information

Overview

Allergies are a form of irritation that you experience when your body overreacts to substances that most people would not. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, more than 50 percent of Americans have tested positive for one or more allergens. Anyone from children to adults can be diagnosed with allergies. Some symptoms of an allergy flare-up may include red or itchy eyes, sneezing and swelling.

Symptoms

Depending on the type of allergic reaction you may have, certain symptoms may or may not be present. Allergic reactions to pollen typically cause red or puffy eyes. Pet allergies may be accompanied by sneezing or watery eyes. According to an article on allergies by the Mayo Clinic, other common symptoms may include congestion, an itchy or runny nose and conjunctivitis.

Causes

Certain types of foods, pets or material can all cause allergies. According to the Mayo Clinic, an allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system perceives a typically harmless substance as a potentially dangerous threat. The immune system reacts by producing antibodies to try and fight the perceived threat. One of the chemicals created by the new antibodies is histamine which causes allergy symptoms to become noticeable.

Risks

Many people who have allergies may not be aware of them until they come into contact with the particular substance that causes a reaction. People at risk for allergies include children and those who have a genetic or family history of allergies. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recommends getting tested for allergies if a potential risk is suspected. Allergy tests may lower your risk of having an adverse reaction by letting you know which substances give you allergies.

Complications

According to the National Institutes of Health, although allergies can make you feel bad, most do not lead to complications that are life-threatening. Substances that you may be allergic to that are dangerous or that can cause life-threatening conditions (anaphylaxis) should be avoided whenever possible. The Mayo Clinic reports that having one allergy increases the risk of developing another one. Other complications may be the development of fungal infections of your sinuses or lungs.

Treatments

An allergic reaction can be little more than bothersome for many individuals but they seldom cause more than discomfort. Most allergic reactions subside when you simply remove the substance or material that is causing the allergy. At other times, medications may be used to help control symptoms and help lessen the likelihood of developing an allergic reaction. An article on allergies by the Mayo Clinic says that if the allergies you experience are moderate to severe, your physician may recommend immunotherapy treatment to help control the allergic reactions.

About this Author

Antonius Ortega is a 13-year veteran of the fitness industry and an athletic trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. His articles on fitness, health and travel have appeared in newspapers such as the “The Hornet,” “The Daily Bruin,” and “Stars and Stripes.” Ortega trains in Orange County.