Potential Allergy Causes
What is Causing Your Allergy?
Allergic reactions are caused by substances in the environment known as allergens. Almost anything can be an allergen for someone. Proteins are organic substances which contain hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, and form an important part of all living organisms. There are also found in food, along with fats, carbohydrates and other substances. However, only proteins can cause true allergic reactions.
The most common causes of allergic reactions are:
? Pollen from trees and grasses
? Proteins secreted from house dust mites
? Foods such as vegetables, fruits, peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs
? Pets such as cats and dogs, and other furry or hairy animals such as horses, rabbits and guinea pigs
? Insects such as wasps and bees
? Medicines (these may cause reactions by binding to proteins in the blood, which then trigger the reaction)
What Happens When You Have an Allergic Reaction?
When a person who is allergic to a particular allergen comes into contact with it, an allergic reaction occurs. This begins when the allergen (for example, pollen) enters the body, triggering an antibody response. The antibodies attach themselves to special cells, including cells called mast cells. When the allergen comes into contact with the antibodies, these cells respond by releasing certain substances, one of which is called histamine. These substances cause swelling, inflammation and itching of the surrounding tissues, which is extremely irritating and uncomfortable.
Common symptoms associated with allergic conditions include:
? Skin redness
? Skin itchiness
? Sinus pain
? Runny nose
? Nettle rash / hives
? Itchy eyes, ears, lips throat and mouth
? Shortness of breath
? Sickness, vomiting & diarrhoea
? Increase in nasal and airway secretions
There may be many reasons why you may experience any of the above symptoms, however, if you think that you have an allergy or an intolerance you should seek advice from a health professional.
How to Diagnose an Allergy
The first step in management of allergic disease is identifying the cause(s) of the problem. In some cases, this may be obvious. However, in other cases it may require detailed investigation and allergy tests. Diagnosing allergy can be difficult since the symptoms may be similar to other conditions. If you think you may be allergic to something and do not know what it is, you should start to keep a record of your symptoms and request an appropriate allergy test via your health professional of choice.
Once the offending allergen is identified through an appropriate test, avoidance measures can be taken and the most appropriate treatments can be commenced, such as Immunotherapy.