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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

Allergies: Kinds and Symptoms

It was not a great day in the professional life of Advocate Sarang, who found it hard to stop sneezing. Ever since he had stepped into his car to leave for court, he had been sneezing. His driver's daughter was getting married, which meant that he had to drive himself to the court and back that day. The good thing was that his day was scheduled to be spent in the court. So, there was not much driving to be done. The bad thing was that he had no idea that repeated sneezing could be almost disabling and could make driving a few kilometers an arduous task. But that was not all. The sneezing continued further on bothering him even more because now he had to appear before the court and he had no clue when the next batch of sneezes was to arrive. Of course, that was one very difficult day in the life of Advocate Sarang. But it somehow ended. And the problem did not recur for months. That was the lull before the storm and soon he found himself having sneeze days every now and then.

After encountering such situations for over a dozen times, Advocate Sarang decided to see his doctor because it did not appear to be the result of common cold or the occasional cold drink he allowed himself to relish. It wasn't anything serious, the doctor told. He was just allergic to certain things. The problem was not life-threatening, but it did have the capacity to derail normal life for a short while and since it did not have a fixed arrival schedule, it could as well arrive at a very inopportune moment spoiling something important. Of course, the sneezes could pay a visit at such a wrong time that on account of the circumstances Advocate Sarang's life could be at stake.

Allergy is not a disease, which is why it is best treated by prevention and by exercising caution. Allergies are nothing but hyperactive reactions of the immune system to certain foreign substances that the immune system considers harmful for some reason. In other words, allergy is simply a paranoid overreaction of the immune system triggered by a particular substance. The substance to which one's body reacts so strongly is called allergen and could be food, dust, pollen and also drugs.

Allergies are acquired throughout one's life, and there is no specific reason why one's immune system starts overreacting to certain substances. Allergies have also been found to genetic origin in some cases. Therefore, if one or both of your parents are prone to being allergic, there are higher chances of your developing some kind of allergy at some stage of your life. This, to some extent, explains why some people are more inclined to be allergic than others.

Food Allergy

Like all other kinds of allergies, food allergy is also characterized by an overreaction to certain items taken as food or as part of food. The body starts treating these food items as invaders and fights back hard making one's body a battlefield needlessly. One might experience respiratory reactions because of which one might have breathing difficulties. Rashes may appear and inflammation may also occur. One might also start feeling slightly feverish. The body starts producing antibodies, which are meant to fight bacteria and viruses, and since these antibodies are basically chemicals, lesions and rashes might easily occur as a consequence.

Certain food items are more likely to produce allergic response than others. These include nuts, shellfish, dairy products and gluten. Now, which one of these is creating trouble for you can be known by eliminating each one after the other and observing if the symptoms persist or vanish. However, one might be allergic to food other than those mentioned above, and to ascertain which food item you are allergic to, you might need to take medical help. Your doctor would be able to determine the cause of your allergy by conducting certain tests. Although allergies are generally not life-threatening, but procrastinate seeing the doctor is still not a good idea.

Pollen Allergy

As the name suggests, the allergy of this kind is a reaction to the pollens produced by plants as part of their natural reproductive cycle. Pollen allergy is sometimes also referred to as 'hay fever' because those who suffer from this kind of allergy are particularly troubled during the haying season. However, different people are allergic to different kinds of pollen, which means that one could suffer from the allergy at any time of the year because different plants pollinate at different times of the year.

Identifying pollen allergy sometimes poses a good deal of difficulty because the symptoms of pollen allergy are very similar to those of other allergies. So, a careful examination and observation is required to ascertain if the body is actually reacting to the pollens or to something else.

There are certainly certain distinguishing features of pollen allergy, but some of these symptoms might not be noticed in certain cases, which could be cause of confusion. Generally, in addition to the hives and rashes that appear in case of food allergies, pollen allergy also causes the skin to get itch and one does not simply sneeze repeatedly, but also gets his eyes watery and suffers from a bad throat. Another feature that distinguishes pollen allergy from food allergy is that the latter causes burping, nausea and vomiting, which does not happen in case of pollen allergies.

However, it is advisable that one consults a qualified and experienced medical practitioner to have the kind of allergy one is suffering from ascertained because no matter how much you know about the symptoms, self-diagnosis and self-medication must be avoided at all costs. It can only do more harm than good.

Medication Allergy

One's body might also react to the chemicals taken for medicinal purposes. This is known as medication allergy and is quite different from the side effects that certain drugs might have. The distinction between the two is that the side effects are general and affect everyone who takes the drug in question while allergy is particular to the allergic. Medication allergy can become life-threatening in certain circumstances. Therefore, one should take careful note of the class of drugs one is allergic to so that one could forewarn the doctor regarding those. Whether it is allergy or a side effect must be left for the experts to determine, and this applies all the more strictly to medication allergy cases because the thin line between allergy and an adverse reaction can only be discerned by careful medical examination.


Note: This is not a piece of authoritative medical opinion or advice

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