Allergy is caused by hypersensitive reaction from the immune system to substances that are in the environment that come into contact with your body. When the reaction delays, the immune system slowly builds up the sensitivity to the allergen. When the allergen is recognized, the immune system makes antibodies that attack it through a process called sensitization. The antibodies produced are in form of histamines, which is a chemical found in some of the cells in the body. This compound causes symptoms such as sneezing and running nose.
While allergic reactions have always been in existence, they have significantly increased in childhood over the last thirty years.
Evolution of allergies
In the recent past, allergies levels where not as many. Back in the days, you could hardly find children being allergic to peanuts, milk or cat fur. This is all attributed to the fact that our immune system is growing weaker and weaker by day. Every baby is born with immune system that is work in progress. The immune system is naïve and allergic skewed.
In the first months of a baby’s life, the immune system gets to learn and distinguish between what is harmful and harmless when they get in contact with germs, infections, virus, and bacteria of different kinds. With the inclining immune system, the body fights the allergies differently because the genetic inclination to the allergy switchover does not happen properly. That is why you find more allergy cases now compared to the cases back in the days.
Another reason for increased number of allergies in children is lack of exposure to germs, which has been caused by the economic status. There have been several campaigns on sanitization. These campaigns have suppressed the immune system natural development.
Lack of exposure to different environments attribute to increase in allergic reactions. For example, if you have never been exposed to an environment where there are many cats, the chance of you having a cat dander allergen is very high. It is possible that you have never been used to areas with many cedar. The moment you get to this area, the possibility of getting pollen allergens is very high due to the cedar pollens around the air. However, this kind of allergy could be seasonal.
Classification of allergies
Allergies are classified to indicate the cause, the seriousness, and possible ways of management and prevention. The classification is as follows
Type 1 hypersensitivity. This is also referred to as anaphylactic or immediate types of reactions. It is caused by substances like pollen, drugs, food and insect bites or stings.
Type 2 hypersensitivity. This type of reaction involves antibodies that are called immunoglobin lgG and Igm. It is evident after an organ has been transplanted to a foreign body. The reaction is mainly caused when the body does not accept the foreign transplanted organ as its own.
Type 3 hypersensitivity. This is a type of a reaction that is immune complex-mediated. This immune complex- mediated is normally a bund form of antibody and antigen. During this reaction, the body destroys local tissues.
Type 4 hypersensitivity. This is a type where the delayed reactions are mediated by special immune cells that are known as T- cell lymphocytes. These T-cells take time to stage an allergic response.
Types of allergies
There are several types of allergies. The most common types include
Drug allergy. These allergies are reactions to medications of several types. They may include drugs with sulfa components, penicillin, anti-seizure drugs, and aspirin. The common symptoms include hives or skin rashes.
Allergic rhinitis. This is a type of reaction that causes swelling and inflammations of the nasal passage, sneezing, congestion, watery and itchy eyes. The allergy is mainly caused by several outdoor and indoor allergens.
Insect venom allergy. This is one of the most dangerous allergic reactions. It causes swelling and inflammation within the area of the sting. Sometimes the inflammations may be on the entire body.
Asthma. These inflammations occur on the lungs and airway. They may also occur in the bronchial tubes. The allergies can be triggered by same allergens in allergic rhinitis. The symptoms include wheezing, short breaths, coughing, and chest tightness.
Latex allergy. This is a reaction brought about by manmade material latex. This is mostly the powder residue that is in the rubber gloves. This powder can be airborne. The general symptoms include asthma, hives, itching and rashes, and watery eyes.
Food allergy. This allergy involves specific components in food. They compounds may be lactose in milk. The general symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, coughing, rashes, facial swelling, hives.
Skin contact allergy. They are also known as contact dermatitis. This is a reaction that is caused by a direct contact with an allergen substance that end up producing an inflammation that may be redness that is localized to open big sores. The most common cause of this kind of allergy is acid and basic or alkaline materials in solvents, soaps, detergents, jewelry, cosmetics fabrics, and chemical materials.