Allergy, an immune response mounted by the immune system to counter a foreign substance, is one of the most common chronic conditions worldwide. In an allergic reaction, the body responds to an allergen that is usually not harmful to the body.
Allergens can be pollen, some types of foods, perfumes, insect stings, drugs, latex, some metals, and pet dander. The immune system is supposed to protect the body from pathogens by attacking the invading particles and invoking inflammation, sneezing, coughing, and other symptoms that lead to the elimination of the pathogen.
The immune system is usually adapted to the environment and can recognize what is harmful and what is not. In some circumstances, the body does not recognize certain substances as harmless and perceives them as threats. The body attacks them, causing allergies. Allergies are common in all populations, and treatment is readily available.
Treatment for Allergies
The best way to deal with the allergy is to avoid the allergen, but if that can not be done, treatment methods are available. There are three main ways to treat allergies which include the use of medicine, immunotherapy and emergency epinephrine
Antihistamines are the most common medications used to treat allergy by controlling symptoms. Antihistamine comes in different formulations depending on the part of the body affected. They include tablets, creams, eye drops, capsules, and nasal sprays. The antihistamine used depends on the severity of the allergy. Antihistamines are different and maybe over the counter or prescription.
Decongestants usually are used for short-term treatment of blocked nose as a result of an allergy. They come in different formulations, including tablets, capsules, nasal sprays, and liquids. Decongestants should not be used for more than a week at a time, as they can worsen the symptoms.
Lotions and creams are used to treat skin that has become red and itchy due to an allergic reaction. They are mostly over the counter and include calamine to reduce itchiness, steroids to reduce inflammation, and moisturizing creams that keep the skin moist, protecting it from allergens.
Steroids help reduce inflammation caused by allergic reactions. There are weak steroids that are available over the counter as eye drops and nasal sprays. The stronger steroids are only available by prescription and are available as creams, inhalers, and tablets. Other forms of medications used to treat allergic reactions include corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, and loratadine.
To treat allergy using immunotherapy, one gets several injections or tablets under the tongue that contain the allergen. This is done over several years, forcing the body to get used to allergy preventing future symptoms. This method is only available to a fraction of the population and is only used if the other methods cannot be used. This method does not entirely cure allergy but makes it milder.
People who have severe and life-threatening allergies may need to carry with them an emergency epinephrine shot. The shot is used to counter allergic reactions as one awaits medical help. The patient is normally trained to watch out for symptoms of anaphylaxis and how to inject themselves on the outer thigh if they see the symptoms.