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An allergy is a hypersensitivity or over-reaction of the immune system, to a specific substance. It is in other words, an abnormally or excessively sensitive disturbance of the immune system and occurs when a person’s immune system reacts to normally non-dangerous substances in the environment. A substance that causes a reaction is called an allergen. In case, an individual gets affected by an allergy, his or her immune system acts as if the allergen was dangerous thereby releasing a chemical known as histamine (an amine released by the tissues in allergic reactions).

Some common allergens are as follows:
Food allergens:
*  Peanuts
*  Lactose
*  Gluten
*  Soy
*  Almonds
*  Brazil nuts
*  Cashew nuts
*  Shellfish and other seafood, eggs
*  Dairy products(the most common cause of allergy in infants)

Allergens carried by or through the air
*  Dust
*  Mites
*  Mold spores
*  Pollen (the fine dust-like mass of grains)
*  Feathers, skin or hairs of animals like cats,dogs,guinea pigs, rabbits etc
*  A plant known as poison ivy can cause a severe rash on contact

Injected allergens
*  Stings(the sharp pointed organs) of fire ants and bees,wasps,honey bees

Medicinal allergens
*  Certain medications like aspirin, antibiotics such as penicillin, natural and herbal products

Miscellaneous causes of allergy
*  Hot and cold temperatures
*  Latex in rubber products
*  Exercise
*  Human emotions
*  People with certain medical conditions are more likely to have allergic reactions e.g. asthmatics, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, nasal polyps, sensitive skin etc

The mechanism of an allergic reaction
Although the antibodies are meant to safe-guard our bodies against viruses, parasites and infections but in case of individuals with an allergy, their immune system wrongly recognizes the particular allergen as a violator and begins to create antibodies against it.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction:
–  Allergic symptoms may come about locally eg swelling as a result of a sting by an insect
–  Allergic symptoms may be widespread such as an anaphylactic reaction
–  If an allergen enters the body of the victim thru the air, such as breathed thru the nose, the resultant symptoms are usually manifested in the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses and lungs(cough, wheeze, bronchospasm)
–  If an allergen moves into the body in the form of certain food items, then the resultant symptoms will be exhibited in the form of gastric and intestinal troubles(nausea,vomiting,gastric upset and spasm, diarrhea)
–  If the allergen gains entry into the cardiovascular system of an individual, the latter experiences symptoms like feeling weak and dizzy, sudden failure in physical strength etc

How to prevent an allergy
Try to identify and avoid the substances that provoke an allergic reaction and mitigate contact with the offending substances.

Home remedies for allergies
–  Dispense with rugs
–  Take bed rest
–  Hold back from consumption of refined foods
–  Licorice: has a strong significance in reducing the allergic symptoms
–  For allergies: take 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 4 oz of water , add some honey and drink thrice daily
–  A cup of coffee not only serves as an energizer but also takes away the aches and pains as well as the hazy brain feeling.
–  Onions and garlic are high in quercetin (an antioxidant that prevents cells from releasing histamine)
–  Avoid using scented soaps, shampoos and detergents, instead use hypoallergenic ones.


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