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A Few Facts About Allergies

Allergies, which are extremely common today, can be caused by just about anything. They can be caused by something that touches your skin thus giving rise to a rash, anything you swallow or even inhale. It can vary in intensity, ranging from mild to severe. A mild allergy can be like a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing, whereas a more severe attack would be something like asthma, where this is often caused by the person inhaling something into the lungs or even an insect sting, shellfish allergy etc. The severe or life threatening kind of allergies are known as anaphylaxis and they give multiple symptoms such as breathing difficulty, difficulty in swallowing, dizziness or sometimes even loss of consciousness, the lips swell along with the tongue and throat. These kinds of allergies need immediate emergency treatment as they can result in shock and even death. These allergies, fortunately, do not occur very often. However, they can be treated successfully if treated properly.

Allergies are also known to set off other complications like ear infections and sinus infections. For example, an allergy that causes an inflamed nasal passage could lead to sinus infection and an allergy that causes an inflamed ear could lead to an ear infection.

Allergies are said to be hereditary. However, it does not mean that just because your mother or father has an allergy that you are most definitely going to get that particular allergy, it is just that, the chance of you getting any allergy is much higher.

The substances that cause allergies are known as allergens and they can occur in:

. Food - Some of the most common foods that cause allergies are peanuts, seafood, shellfish, milk, eggs, nuts etc. Infants are most likely to suffer from food allergies. These allergies, however, tend to go away as the child gets older. Symptoms of food allergy can range from an itchy rash, to nausea, to diarrhea, to vomiting, to a stuffy nose and stomach cramps.

. Air - The substances found in air are pollen, dust mites, mold spores and animal dander. These are some of the most common allergens and the hardest to avoid.

. Insect bites or stings - Here the venom or poison is injected directly into the blood stream; therefore, the allergic reaction time is faster. These generally cause swelling accompanied by pain. These reactions can be severe in some people.

. Medicines - One of the most common medicines that cause allergic reactions are antibiotics, which are normally used in the treatment of infections. Most often, these allergies are of the mild kind but some medications do cause severe reactions.

. Plants - a few examples of plants that cause allergic reactions are poison ivy and oak. The oils that are secreted in these plants are known to cause the allergic reaction. If you come into contact with this oil it can give you an itchy rash very often with blisters.

. Cosmetics and detergents - the various chemicals in these products sometimes cause people to break out into a rash, which is usually itchy.

Michael RussellYour Independent guide to Allergies