What is an Allergy??
October 3, 2019
Are you curious about what an allergy is? This post provides a clear definition of allergies and explains how they can affect your body.
Allergy is a very common medical condition. People may have an allergy to almost any food, chemical, drug or other materials. But what is an allergy, really?
Let’s take a closer look at the allergy definition in the article below:
An allergy is your body’s response to a substance – usually a foreign body – that it does not agree with.
Allergies are very common; especially in children though they mostly outgrow them.
Food allergies are among the frequently occurring events in children.
‘Hypersensitivity’ and ‘reaction’ are words also used to describe the body’s reaction to the substance causing the allergy.
Allergens are substances that cause or trigger an allergic reaction.
Sometimes we do not know what causes the reaction
But allergens can include medicines, foods, fibre used in clothing, animal or animal hair, chemicals, dust, grass and tree pollen, cosmetics like makeup, hair dyes or henna, creams or household chemicals like soaps etc.
Well, there are certain cells in the body that become stimulated when the body encounters an allergic substance, allergen or trigger.
These cells proceed to ‘react’ against the trigger giving rise to the allergy and the symptoms
Most often, allergy reactions are mild; but occasionally, they can be very severe or even life-threatening.
These can include:
The most serious type of allergy is called an anaphylactic reaction.
It is a medical emergency where; as a result of severe sensitivity to a substance, the body has an overwhelming reaction, and its tissues go into ‘shock’ as a result.
In an anaphylactic
The symptoms usually start soon after exposure to the trigger, such as an injection – during baby immunisation, for example; or a blood transfusion with an incorrect blood type.
Other examples could be following a Henna or hair dye application or if a person eats food, they are allergic to like peanuts, eggs or fish.
Commonly people may have Anaphylactic reactions to:
Such people who are known to suffer from anaphylactic reactions must carry an EpiPen.
You (or others around you) can give yourself the injection immediately if you start to have a serious allergy reaction.
Adrenaline immediately works to reverse the effects of the anaphylactic reaction.
Read here about dealing with Child Emergencies in school.
For less severe reactions, medicines called Antihistamines are used to counter the effect of the allergy.
This is because, critically, one of the chemicals created by the body after its exposure to a trigger is to form Histamine, and this chemical causes a lot of the symptoms we see.
Some Antihistamines can be purchased over the counter.
If you suspect that you (or your child) have an allergy, see your doctor to get diagnosed and advice on how to treat it, medicines to use and what to avoid.
Editing By AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare.
The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly
Photo: Allergy effect from hair dye. Credit Source – Hairsimply
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