The causes and symptoms of allergies vary. Allergies are best described as a hypersensitive disorder of the immune system. That is a mouthful! Most of us are well aware of allergies. We are familiar with the common symptoms and the common causes.
When we are exposed to an allergen, certain white blood cells become overly activated, resulting in inflammation. Wherever that inflammation takes place is where we will notice our body’s reaction. Common allergic reactions include, but are not limited to, hay fever, hives, eczema, respiratory constrictions, asthma, digestive discomfort, itchy skin, watery eyes, and in extreme cases, anaphylactic reactions, which are life threatening.
Many allergens such as dust or pollen are airborne particles. When they come in contact with our bodies, the symptoms may arise. The common organs affected by airborne allergens are the nose, throat, sinuses, ears, and eyes. Inhaled particles can also affect the airways and lungs, causing shortness of breath, wheezing, and inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
Allergic reactions can also result from foods, insect stings, and medications. Also, there are substances that can come in contact with the skin that can cause allergic reactions. A common allergen is latex. Plants, grasses, and chemical compounds are superphactor also common allergens to the skin. Poisonous plants like poison ivy, poison oak, and stinging nettle have been known to cause allergic reactions when they make contact with people’s skin.
When this occurs, it is called contact dermatitis, or eczema. It is characterized by swelling and inflammation of the skin, which might appear as bumps, redness, or hives, and itchy skin.
So how do we become allergic? There are two general categories for allergy risk factors. They are host and environmental factors. Host factors include heredity, gender, race, and age. Environmental factors include exposure to toxins, pollutants, dietary changes, and exposure to infectious diseases during early childhood.
It has been discovered that genetics play an important roll here. Allergic diseases are strongly familial. Parents who have allergies are more likely to pass on those sensitivities to their children. Identical twins are likely to have the same allergic diseases about 70% of the time. It seems that the likelihood of developing allergies is inherited.
Exposure to allergens is more common today. The likely explanation is that there are many toxins to be exposed to. Not only are there plants and organic risk factors that occur naturally on earth, but there are others that are man-made. Chemical pollutants, medications, heavy metals, toxins in our cleaning products, our personal care products, and our home environments, pollutants found in our water, air, and food, all carry with them the risk of causing allergic diseases in our population.
There have been huge improvements in recent times in the treatment of allergies. Not only has the traditional medical treatments improved, but many alternative treatments are readily available now. Some of those treatments include acupuncture, chiropractic, ionic footbath treatments, hypnotherapy, homeopathy and nutrition counseling. Many people find a variety of choices when it comes to improving their allergic diseases. Treating the body as a whole and not just treating the symptoms has proven to be effective in managing and even eliminating allergies.