Amazing Facts about Allergies
A new molecule DC-SIGN appears to play role in regulating immune responses to environmental allergens.
The team of immunologists led by Dr Amir Ghaem-Maghami and Professor Farouk Shakib at The University of Nottingham has identified a new molecule DC-SIGN, which can be found on the surface of the immune cells, appears to play a role in damping down the body’s allergic response to the house dust mite.
Dr Amir Ghaem-Maghami said: “A better understanding of how the interaction between allergens and the immune system triggers allergy is vital if we are to develop more effective and efficient treatments for this debilitating condition.”
Allergy affects thousands of people around the world every day. Allergy in the worst case may be fatal. Here’s what you need to know about allergies to stay healthy.
Allergy is a disorder caused by the body’s immune system reacting to substances in the environment that are usually harmless, such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander etc. These substances are known as Allergens.
The body’s immune system produces Immunoglobulin type E (IgE) antibodies to those allergens and participates in the allergic response by releasing Histamine. Histamine activates pain receptors and causes cells to become leaky.
Symptoms of Allergy
Mild allergy signs or symptoms can include:
- Itching eyes, nose and throat
- Sneezing, often accompanied by a runny or clogged nose
- Dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses
- Watery eyes
- Difficulty breathing
Severe allergy symptoms can include:
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
- Swelling of tissues such as lips or joints
- Rash or redness of the skin
- Wheezing, noisy breathing
- loss of consciousness
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal cramps
- low blood pressure
Types of Allergies
You can be allergic to anything, but some allergies are more common than others. It’s important for you to have a good understanding of your allergy and the kind of reaction you could expect.
Common types of allergies are;
Allergic rhinitis also known as hay feveris your body’s immune system response to foreign material in the air. Usually hay fever is seasonal but it can last all year long if the allergens stay throughout the year. Spring and fall are main seasons for hay fever. Spring allergy is common in most of the people.
Spring allergies are most common these days; pollens released by flowering plants and from certain types of trees, grasses and weeds (such as ragweed) are most likely to cause reactions. The other common allergens in hay fever are molds, which are a type of fungus.
Symptoms of hay fever are sneezing, runny and congested nose, watery eyes, fatigue and trouble sleeping.
Urticaria or Hives is a kind of skin allergy. A hive is a circular, red, spongy lesion that can appear anywhere on the body. They are usually an allergic reaction to food or medicine. During an allergic reaction body releases Histamine and other chemicals into bloodstream. This causes itching, swelling and other symptoms.
Animal dander, insect bites, medication, pollen, emotional stress, extreme cold and sun exposure can trigger hives.
When swelling occurs around the face, it is called angioedema. Angioedema occurs beneath the skin instead of on the surface. Swelling can also occur around your hands, feet and throat.
To reduce itching avoid hot baths, wear loose-fitting clothes and try to sleep in a cool room.
Pet allergens are proteins from the hair, saliva or urine of pets, which when in contact with the skin or breadth in, cause an allergic reaction.
According to Derek K. Johnson, MD, director of Allergy and immunology at Temple University Children’s Medical Center “You can develop an allergy at any time, that’s why it’s important to know what causes pet allergies. It’s the flakes from the animal’s skin, not the fur. So even if it’s a bald cat, you can be allergic.”
Symptoms of pet allergy are sneezing, coughing, wheezing, eczema (itchy skin disease with red patches).
If you have allergic symptoms it is advisable to ensure that in your house there are no pets.
Anaphylaxis (A Life Threatening Allergy Reaction)
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that may cause death. Anaphylaxis should always be treated as a medical emergency.
The symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Breathing difficulty
- Swelling of certain body parts such as lips, hands and feet
- Fast heartbeat or pulse
- Nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting
- Trouble speaking
- Loss of consciousness
The whole body can be affected, usually within minutes of contact with an allergen. Common causes of anaphylaxis are insect stings and food.
If you have ever had these reactions ask your doctor how to avoid your allergens.
Always wear protective clothing when outside and keep an epinephrine injection kit with you at all times.
Any type of allergy can make your life miserable. Avoid your allergens as much as possible and check the daily pollen and mold counts for your community in the newspaper, in weather reports, or on the internet. Avoid exposure to chemicals, fumes, tobacco smoke, air pollution, etc.