With the onset of spring, many are faced with seasonal allergies, which cause serious discomfort every day. Together with an expert, we answer the most exciting questions about its origin and treatment.
The number of people suffering from allergic reactions is steadily increasing every year, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stop this process against the background of the deteriorating environmental situation in the world. But two main weapons remain in our hands – raising awareness about allergies and its competent prevention. Together with the head of the Clinic of Dermatovenerology and Allergology-Immunology of the European Medical Center Eva Pechatnikova, we collected all the most relevant things that are important to know about this phenomenon.
Is allergy a disease or a protective reaction of the body?
First of all, it is worth noting that allergy itself is not a disease. In fact, this is the strongest protective reaction of our body, sometimes even excessive and paradoxical. At the same time, it is important to understand that ignoring allergy symptoms, which will be discussed later, can lead to the occurrence of certain diseases. For example, an allergic reaction of the nasal mucosa to pollen – pollinosis or hay fever – can cause acute sinusitis, the treatment of which may require not only decongestants and steroid nasal aerosols, but also antibiotics, and in some cases surgery.
In most cases, allergies are caused by genetic factors. Thus, when analyzing the results of medical studies of patients with allergies, the family factor is often traced. Such patterns can be detected by the modern procedure of genetic screening. It clearly shows that allergies can change the “target organ” of their application from generation to generation or in the process of growing up.
For example, a grandmother may have rheumatoid arthritis, her daughter has asthma, and the baby will have atopic dermatitis. In this case, it is clear to the specialist that three different diseases are caused by one immunological factor. So in the process of growing up, atopic dermatitis of a baby can easily transform into pollinosis – the reaction of the mucous membranes of the respiratory system to pollen from trees and grasses.
What types of allergies exist?
Any human organ can respond to an allergic reaction to external or internal irritation. Therefore, the number of types of allergies is very large, especially taking into account the individual manifestations of each individual. Nevertheless, in order to systematize the recorded cases of allergic reactions, experts divide them into two types: immune and so-called simple histamine. However, here you need to keep in mind that this is a rather rough division. There is no need to treat it as absolutely accurate. With the development of genetics and immunology, scientists are finding more and more scientific data that has yet to be analyzed and turned into practical algorithms for the diagnosis and treatment of clinical symptoms.
In immune types of allergies, antibodies are produced in the human body in response to the antigens of the stimulus. Subsequently, they lead to damage or destruction of healthy tissues, settling on the internal organs of a person. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis, joints can become the object for the occurrence of an autoimmune allergic reaction. And with pollinosis, in response to the birch pollen antigen, some people produce such a number of antibodies that, in addition to a runny nose and nasal congestion, generalized reactions of the respiratory system organs can develop up to asthmatic attacks.
The second type of allergy can develop when eating a large number of products that promote the release of histamine from mast cells. Such cells are present everywhere in the human body and store histamine reserves – an organic compound responsible for numerous physiological processes in the body. For example, if you regularly consume a lot of strawberries or oranges, you are most likely already at risk of the second (conditionally) type of allergy. Active histamine release can also occur in response to certain physical factors, such as cold water or air, vibration, and even compression. Such types of allergies can become serious restrictions in choosing a profession or hobby.
A large group of allergic reactions goes through a mixed mechanism: an antigen-antibody reaction is triggered, and ends with the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators. Because of this, itching, inflammation of the respiratory organs, mucous membranes of the eyes and even the digestive tract – the stomach and intestines. This can be especially acute when using products that cause cross-allergy. So, if you eat a handful of peanuts during the flowering of birch or cypress species, the risk of a pronounced allergic reaction increases significantly.
How to understand that you have an allergy?
It should be understood that the symptoms of any diseases or reactions of the body are a purely individual story. Therefore, if you feel unwell, which prevent you from living in peace, it is always better to consult a specialist, and not to guess on coffee grounds or even worse – to self-medicate. Of course, there are a number of the most frequent signs, thanks to which you can detect the presence of allergies with a high (but not one hundred percent) probability. Let ‘s focus on the main signs:
- You sneeze and cough, your eyes itch, there is a sore throat, but there is no fever – most likely, there was an allergic reaction;
- If your skin is very dry and covered with red itchy spots– it is likely that this is a manifestation of an allergic reaction;
- If certain parts of your body swell, this is also a reason to think about a possible allergy.
However, it should be borne in mind that these same symptoms may be signs of other, not allergic reactions at all. So, red itchy spots appear in at least ten skin diseases, including infectious – fungal and bacterial. The same can be said about a runny nose and itching of the mucous membranes of the eyes or respiratory system. So it is better not to neglect the consultation with a competent doctor .
Why does psychosomatic allergy occur?
Psychosomatic allergy is a collective term that in modern medicine replaces the outdated name neurodermatitis. To put it carefully, this is a group of conditions that occur against the background of nervous tension, stressful situations or psychoemotional experiences. Most often, this type of reaction manifests itself in the form of atopic dermatitis. However, at the moment, experts have come to the conclusion that much more serious diseases can occur on this soil – such as, for example, gastritis or cystitis.
In addition, psychosomatic allergy may appear against the background of denial of any generally accepted practices or because of the familiar “winding up” of oneself. Internal rejection and rejection of the current situation is really capable of causing an allergic reaction. People who value cleanliness and order the most in life are often extremely sensitive to the disorder and chaos around them. The dust components that have appeared can cause such people to have sneezing attacks and mucous secretions .
How to defeat allergies?
Despite the fact that allergy is not a disease in its pure form, it is necessary to work on the normalization of its symptoms under the guidance of the attending allergist. To do this, it is necessary to conduct an examination and find out which external or internal factor is the irritant. As soon as the trigger is detected, you will be prescribed the right treatment or given preventive recommendations.
Do not forget that getting rid of specific reactions of the body is of an individual nature. If after reading this article you find yourself with allergy symptoms, do not run to the pharmacy for nasal congestion drops. The most correct strategy in this case is diagnosis by a specialist.
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