05.04.2014 Health & Fitness


By Duke Anderson
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When Mr. Nish came home from work one evening, he was so happy to see that the new woolen carpet had been delivered. He went to inspect the layout and even sat on it, feeling so pleased. However, the following morning, he woke up with itchy eyes, and a running nose. He quickly runs to a nearby chemist where he was given anti-histamine.

Little did he know that he had an allergic reaction.

1. What is an allergy?

The human body has a system of defense called the immune system which is responsible for combating substances, other living organisms or particles that may cause harm to the body. When this system becomes hypersensitive to a particular substance, it may provoke an exaggerated response. This exaggerated response termed as an allergic reaction.

2. What are the causes of allergies?

Usually, some foods, pollen, dust mites, some medications, perfumes or unidentified particles may cause allergies. These substances or particles are called allergens.

3. What are the risk factors?

A family history of allergies, children born via cesarean section, exposure to tobacco or smoke from cigarettes, frequent use of antibiotics, etc may increase one's risk of having allergies.

4. What are the signs and symptoms of an allergy?

An allergy may manifest in the form of swelling of eye lids, itchy eyes, mucous plugs, swelling of the face, itching which may be intense, etc. However, there may be some parts of the body which may be prone to allergic reactions such as the eyes, nose, lungs, skin and gastrointestinal tract.

5. How are allergies treated?

Usually, during allergic reactions, a substance called histamine is released from cells. Drugs used in treating allergies are mainly antihistamines which prevent the effects of histamines. Topical creams containing steroids may also be used. However, in some exceptional cases, life threatening conditions may result (allergic shock or anaphylaxis). In this instance, medical attention must be sought immediately.

Contact your doctor or pharmacist for more information on allergies.

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