Allergy and its types

ALLERGIES

What is allergy?

Allergy symptoms occur as an immune response to allergen which is normally harmless but with some people, it induces allergic reactions.

Once an allergen is breathed in or comes in contact with the skin, your immune system fights the substance by releasing chemicals such as histamine.

As a result, allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, itchy skin or swelling may occur.

WHY DO ALLERGIES happen?

Some factors may cause allergies to develop including:

  1. Family history

Most allergies are inherited as they are passed down from parent to child, but it is not necessary to inherit allergy to the same allergen.

  1. Diet

The kind of diet from early days may be risk factor in developing allergies. As introducing cow milk or soymilk formulas before 3 or 4 months will be a risk in developing allergy.

  1. Time of Birth

Babies born during the spring have a higher risk of developing seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.

  1. Cigarette smoke

Passive exposure to cigarette smoke increases the risk of developing allergic respiratory symptoms in children.

  1. Exposure to allergens

Being in contact with allergens (substances that can trigger allergies) increases the risk of developing allergy and this probability will increase when your body`s immune defense is weak as during illness or pregnancy.

IS THERE A SPECIFIC AGE FOR ALLERGY TO ARISE?

Allergies are more common in children, but they can develop at any time or age.

DO ALLERGIES STAYS FOR LIFE-LONG TIME?

Not always. Sometimes allergic symptoms start to appear in childhood, disappear for years, and then start up again in adult life. Also, they are prone to developing new allergies.

HOW CAN I TREAT ALLERGIES?

Allergies can usually be treated by a wide range of products including antihistamines, which prevent histamine from attaching to cells and causing allergy symptoms.

Levohistam is a fast, non-drowsy oral antihistamine that helps in reduction of the symptoms of hay fever allergies.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF ALLERGIES

  1. Dust mite allergies

Dust mile allergy arise because of dust mites which are tiny creatures, found in fiber-filled surfaces as pillows, mattresses, or any fiber surface in warm atmosphere, dark and humid. Allergy arises by inhalation of dust mites and their waste.

  1. Pet allergies

Pet allergies are triggered by pet dander from animals as dogs and cats. People with pet allergies have immune system response to harmless proteins found in dander, pet saliva or urine resulting in allergic symptoms. Pet hair itself is not considered an allergen, but it may collect dander. Avoiding exposure to the problem animal is the best way to avoid symptoms of allergy.

  1. Mould allergies

Mould is usually found indoors and outdoors and may be found in poorly ventilated areas. Symptoms such as sneezing, coughing and a blocked or runny nose may arise on exposure to mould. At home, Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries are the most common areas where mould grows because of condensation and a lack of airflow.

  1. Pollen allergies

Pollen produced by trees, grasses, weeds and flowers cause allergy in many people. This type of allergic reaction is known as hay fever. Symptoms as sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, itchy skin or swelling may arise.

  1. Oral allergies

Oral allergy syndrome may result because of protein found in fruits and vegetables causing itching in the mouth after eating a particular fruit or vegetable.

Cooking destroys the proteins responsible for this allergic reaction, so the same foods that cause symptoms when eaten raw will not often cause allergy when cooked. Often the responsible proteins are in the skin of fruits and vegetables. Buying canned varieties may be an option, as canning destroys the proteins as well.

HOW CAN I REDUCE EXPOSURE TO ALLERGENS?

Tips to reduce your exposure to different allergens found at home

  1. Dust mites
  • Use allergen‐proof covers for mattresses and pillows.
  • Wash all bedding, blankets, or soft toys in very hot water weekly.
  • If you can, replace carpets with tiles or timber.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with purifying filter.
  1. Mould
  • Keep good ventilation for the bathroom and try to keep it dry. You can use an exhaust fan.
  • Fix any water leaks anywhere in the house.
  • Discard papers, books and newspapers that are not in need as they can absorb moisture and encourage mould growth.
  • Clean the fridge drip tray and door seals.
  1. Pets
  • Keep pets outside your home or at least out of your bedroom and living areas.
  • Good home ventilation is a must.
  • Use allergen‐proof covers.
  • Bath the pets and clean its cage, bedding and litter box regularly.

Important tip for reducing your allergy symptoms

  • Wear a mask when cleaning your home or working in your garden to avoid dust mites, allergenic mite material and mould spores.

REFERENCES

http://www.allergy.org.au/images/stories/aer_allergy_prevention_children_feb09.pdf

 

Allergy in children

Allergy in children

Allergies are common in children. Around 40% to 50% of children may suffer from allergies at some point in their lives.

The most common allergies are:

  • food allergies
  • eczema (skin allergy)
  • hay fever

WHY DO CHILDREN ARE MORE LIKELY TO DEVELOP ALLERGIES?

This may be due to immune system overactivity. At some stage, the immune system mistakenly identifies something which is harmless, like dust mites or pollen, as a threat and in this case, it is called an allergen because after exposure to this allergen, the body starts to defend itself by the production of antibodies and secretion of other substances as histamine which causes symptoms of allergy.

HOW TO KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS ALLERGIES?

Symptoms of allergy vary from child to other. These symptoms can be unpredictable and differ in their severity. If the allergic symptoms start mild, this does not mean that future reactions will be mild too.

ALLERGY SYMPTOMS

Allergies may be caused by airborne allergens as mould, spores, pet dander, dust mites and pollen. Allergic rhinitis and other types of allergies usually develop during childhood and may diminish later in life.

Symptoms of allergies can include:

  • Frequent Sneezing
  • Itchy nose and throat
  • Blocked nose or runny nose
  • Cough
  • Watery, itchy and/or red eyes which is known as allergic conjunctivitis
  • “Allergic shiners” they are bluish dark circles under the eyes caused by of nose congestion.

FOOD, MEDICATION, OR INSECT VENOM ALLERGIC SYMPTOMS

Children who suffer from allergies to food, medicine or insect venom may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Stomachache
  • Watery, Itchy, or swollen eyes
  • Hives
  • Red spots with different sizes
  • Swelling
  • Anaphylaxis (emergency)

HOW TO HELP CHILDREN WITH ALLERGIES?

There are many ways to protect them from different allergies according to the causative agent as:

  1. Pollen allergy:
  • Keep windows closed in your kids` bedroom or in the car, use AC on recirculate.
  • Remind them to wear sunglasses outdoors to protect their eyes from pollen.
  • Bathe your child before bedtime to remove any suspended pollen on their hair and skin.
  • try to keep your child indoors when pollen counts are of high percentage especially in spring.
  • Try saline nasal drops or spray to wash out pollen and to loosen dried mucus.
  1. Dust mite allergy
  • Use dust‐mite proof covers for pillows and mattresses.
  • Use very hot water in washing bedding once a week.
  • Wash soft toys from the bedroom and wash them using very hot water once per week.
  • If possible, consider replacing carpet with hard flooring like tiles, wood, or linoleum.

ANTIHISTAMINES

An antihistamine will help relieving the symptoms of hay fever allergies.

An oral liquid antihistamine like Levohistam® is recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 11, also drops are available for infants from 6 months to 2 years old, and they provide rapid‐acting non‐drowsy relief from all allergic symptoms like sneezing, itchy and runny nose, itchy and watery eyes and itchy throat.

Contact your healthcare professional if your child allergy becomes worse or remains for more than 2 days after treatment with antihistamine.

 

Allergy and hay fever

WHAT IS ALLERGY?

Allergies is an overreaction of the immune system to a particular substance, known as an allergen. The most common allergens are pollen, mold, dust mites, animal dander, latex, and insect venom (as bees).

WHAT IS ALLERGIC RHINITIS?

Allergic rhinitis is a condition in which allergies results in inflammation of the lining of the nose. The symptoms may resemble those of the common cold, but they are not caused by viral infection (as the common cold is). Allergic rhinitis may be during certain season (seasonal) or all year-round (perennial).  The severity of allergic rhinitis may be mild or moderate/severe.

WHAT IS SEASONAL ALLERGIC RHINITIS?

Seasonal allergic rhinitis (INTERMITTENT), or hay fever, is caused by allergy to pollen from flowers, grass, weeds, or trees. It may cause sudden and frequent attacks of sneezing with nasal discharge, and congestion. These symptoms may be accompanied with eye symptoms, as stinging, watering, itchy eyes, and conjunctivitis.

Seasonal allergy typically develops in childhood, it is not unusual to develop it as an adult. In fact, the average age to develop this seasonal allergic rhinitis is about 15 years.

WHAT IS PERENNIAL or (PERSISTENT) ALLERGIC RHINITIS?

Perennial or persistent allergic rhinitis is a hypersensitivity reaction to allergens like dust mites, animal dander or fungal spores.

SYMPTOMS OF AN ALLERGY

  1. Cold-like symptoms

Sneezing and a runny nose may be the first sign of both a common cold and an allergy attack. But unlike the common cold and influenza, the allergies are not caused by a viral infection. Common cold symptoms may vary as it may last for a few days up to two weeks according to severity of infection. If symptoms persist for longer time, they may be because of an allergy or you may need to ask your doctor for advice.

Allergies and common cold can be distinguished from other serious viral infections, like influenza, by lack of high fever, severe fatigue and colored mucous, cold or flu.

  1. Timing and recurrence of Irritation

To determine the cause, The timing of symptoms may help. Allergy, unlike viral infection cause persistent symptoms that recur in certain conditions. like hay fever which happens frequently in spring due to the increase of pollen count in air.

THE SYMPTOMS OF HAYFEVER

Hay fever appears mostly due to airborne pollens and allergens that make their way into your respiratory system, nasal passage or eyes and triggers immune response that led to inflammation of the area causing hay fever symptoms.

Several symptoms may indicate that you are suffering from hay fever allergy. They include:

  1. Frequent sneezing, nasal congestion, or runny nose.
  2. Red, itchy or watery eyes
  3. Itchy throat
  4. Irritated skin
  5. Rash and localized swellings which is known as hives

WHAT IS POLLEN (allergen)?

Pollen is a very fine powder produced by different types of plants, used to fertilize other plants from the same species. Flowering plants produce small amounts of pollen which are distributed by birds, flies, or bees from one plant to another. Other plants rely on the wind to disperse their pollen grains. These kinds of plants can cause pollen allergies (which is known as Hay fever or Allergic Rhinitis) in people.

HOW CAN A POLLEN ALLERGY BE DIAGNOSED?

Your doctor will ask about your medical history, physical examination and review your symptoms in order to diagnose your condition. Also, there are skin allergy tests done to diagnose which allergen is responsible for your symptoms.

HOW TO MANAGE SPRING POLLEN ALLERGIES?

  • Check forecast before going outside, to know if pollen count is high or not.
  • Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses.
  • If you have plants, avoid the kinds that are pollinated by wind and use types that are pollinated by birds like the flowering plants.
  • Splash your eyes with cold water several times a day to flush out any pollen.
  • Apply Vaseline smear or something similar into your nose to protect them from irritation due to contact with pollen.
  • Keep your windows closed at home and in the car and depend on air conditioning.
  • Take an antihistamine allergy medication such as Levohistam® to control allergic symptoms as: sneezing, itchy eyes and other frustrating symptoms of hay fever.

HOW to TREAT HAYFEVER

Levohistam® is a 3rd generation non-drowsy antihistamine that reduce the symptoms of hay fever allergies. For persistent or severe hay fever, you may need a nasal steroid spray, in addition to an antihistamine treatment, your doctor or the pharmacist can help you with this.

If your symptoms are not being relieved by your current treatment, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for other options that may better suit your needs.

HOW to TREAT HAYFEVER WHEN PREGNANT?

Always ask your doctor for advice if you are pregnant to describe what is best for you and suits your circumstances.

IS LIFESTYLE AFFECTING ALLERGIES?

Certain lifestyles including diet, physical activities, stress, quality of sleep can affect your allergy, its incidence and severity. Avoiding allergy triggers is very important in managing symptoms.

REFERENCES

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare