Allergy FAQ

What is an allergy?

An allergy is a special immune pathological process, which is expressed by the extremely high sensitivity of the immune system of the body to repeated effects of certain antigens, called allergens.

How does an allergic reaction occur?

The clinical manifestations of different types of allergic reactions may vary. They are divided into local and general reactions. Local reactions look like allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, bronchospasms, asthma. Common reactions include anaphylaxis.

How can I distinguish allergies from a common cold?

Allergic rhinitis is year-round, that is, it occurs at any time of the year. But it also can be seasonal, for example, it occurs only in spring, summer or autumn. In this case, allergic rhinitis may be suspected. In case of allergy, nasal discharge is usually liquid and transparent, while in case of viral and especially bacterial rhinitis, it changes color and thickness. Allergy sufferers usually experience persistent itching in the nose, bouts of sneezing. But in any case, the diagnosis should be made by a doctor.

What are the common allergens?

Allergens can be different in nature substance. Basically, they are divided into several groups: household (dust), epidermal (wool, feather, down), insect (mosquito bites, bees), pollen (pollen of various plants), food (cow’s milk protein, fish).

How do allergens enter the body?

Aeroallergens penetrate the body with the inhaled air through the mucous membranes of the nose, sinuses, throat, lungs. Allergens can also penetrate the skin through direct contact or the gastrointestinal tract (food allergies).

Can allergies cause conjunctivitis?

Yes, they can. Allergies can cause conjunctivitis (pink eye), which is common in people who have other types of allergies, such as hay fever, asthma, or eczema. Reactions to common allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander, drugs, cosmetics and other allergy-causing substances, can lead to allergic conjunctivitis.

Is there a genetic predisposition to allergies?

Family history can be traced in some cases, but scientists cannot fully explain the mechanism of this connection.

Is an allergy dangerous for life?

Allergic reactions of the anaphylactic type are very dangerous. They lead to fatal outcomes in 10-20% of all cases, as they develop extremely rapidly with obvious symptoms in the form of sharp pain and edema. In case of anaphylactic shock, you should immediately call an ambulance and describe all the symptoms.

How to diagnose allergies?

Allergies are diagnosed with skin tests and blood tests. Skin testing is considered the most accurate, but both skin and blood tests can reveal a person’s sensitivity to common allergens such as pollen, mold, dust mites, drugs, food, latex, or other substances. It is usually recommended to test on the skin, but blood tests for allergology can be also performed if the patient has severe skin rashes or if a person takes medicine which interferes with the results of the skin allergy test but cannot be stopped.

What is the difference between food allergies and other reactions?

There is no particular difference in the mechanism of chemical reactions, however, a person with a food allergy is more likely to have skin symptoms and / or gastrointestinal disorders, such as cramps, nausea and vomiting.

Are there allergies to medications?

Yes, there are. Such reactions occur quite often. An example is a response to penicillins and some local anesthetics. If you have an allergy to a particular medication, try to use antibacterial drugs of another group but with the same spectrum of action.

How to deal with food allergies?

If a person has an allergy to any of the food products, then it should be excluded from the diet and replaced with a similar analogue. For example, cow’s milk can be replaced with soy or oat milk.

Can you outgrow your allergies?

Yes, some forms can be outgrown. For example, if you have an intolerance to egg whites, then excluding this product from the diet for up to 24 months can lead to a complete cure of the disease. But in some cases, the problem is likely to remain for life (allergies to fish, peanuts and seafood).

Can I cure my allergy?

Alas, at the moment, no uniform allergy medication has been invented. Therefore, the most effective method of dealing with allergies is the most obvious method – reducing the impact of the allergen.

How to choose allergy medications?

Allergy sufferers have four options: cromones, barrier agents, antihistamines, and corticosteroids. Cromones are mast cell stabilizing substances. When allergens enter the body, these cells release histamines into the bloodstream, which cause swelling, tearing and runny nose. Cromones are effective and you can take them for a long time. However, they have a cumulative effect, so they should be started two or three weeks before flowering. Barrier agents form a protective layer on the nasal mucosa, not allowing allergens into the body. Antihistamine drugs block histamine receptors and quickly reduce allergy symptoms but may cause side effects such as drowsiness and weakness (except for drugs of the 2nd and 3rd generation). They cannot be taken for a long time as the prolonged use may affect the functioning of internal organs. Corticosteroids are hormones that reduce the inflammatory response. They are effective but also have side effects. Therefore, treatment of allergies should be selected by a doctor.

When should I see a doctor?

See your doctor if you have any repeated allergies. If this is not possible at the moment, you can contact My Canadian Pharmacy – a pharmacist will give advice on the use of symptomatic drugs. Now you can buy highly effective over-the-counter drugs the relief of allergy symptoms.

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