What Are Allergies

what are allergies, asthma, hives, lactose intolerance
It’s very important for one to understand allergic reactions and how the immune system reacts to foreign substances in the body. After reading this, you’ll understand why some people are highly sensitive while others are not. Furthermore, you’ll learn some common allergy diseases we have today.

What are allergies?

Allergies are when an individual’s immune system exaggerates reaction as a result of exposing their body to foreign substances. We use the term ‘exaggerated’ since these substances are usually considered harmless by people who are not allergic.

In allergic people, their immune system is such that when they consume foods that trigger reaction, the other arm of their immune system automatically generates a response.

Substances that provoke allergic reactions are called allergens. They may come in form of pollen grains, animal proteins, fine dust, foods and even some medication. Therefore, allergens are substances that the body considers harmful because they trigger reactions every time allergic people come into contact with them.

People who are highly sensitive to allergens are called allergic or sometime atopic people. The word ‘allergy’ is a Greek word written as ”Alos” to mean changed or different. On the other hand, ”ergros” means action. In short, allergy refers to an altered reaction.

This word was first used in 1905 to refer to the adverse effects that were seen in children who were give horse serum shots to deal with infection. The following year, the term ”Allergy” was proposed as a medical term that describes unexpected change in reactivity.

Statistics you should note

-On average, 10%-30% of individuals who work in the industrialized world develop allergies, and this percentage is estimated to increase.
-Nasal allergies (Allergic rhinitis) affect 20% of people living in America. Allergies also have economic implications in that the state loses 3billion every year out of inconveniences that are caused by allergies.
-Furthermore, Asthma affects between 8%-10% of people living in America. They are currently estimating that the cost of Asthma in relation to the economy is at $20 billion every year.

What’s shocking is the fact that the prevalence of allergic conditions has risen for the last 2 decades, and is still rising.

The risks that come with allergies

Allergies may develop at any age. But there are cases where a child develops allergies while still in the womb. The good thing is that individuals can always outgrow allergies. However, nasal and environmental allergies sometimes proceed into adulthood.

You may ask why some people are more prone to allergies than others. Well, research hasn’t found solutions to that yet. What we currently know is the risk factors associated with allergies. Genetics and history determine whether or not an individual will be allergic to certain substances. If one of your family members were allergic to certain foods or substances, chances of becoming allergic to them are also high.

Research also shows that children who are born through C-section are more prone to developing allergies than those who are delivered vaginally. Exposure to tobacco can also increase the risk factor.

Allergic reactions may occur in any part of the body. They manifest in different forms, which is why it’s always important that individuals understand allergies, what causes them and what to do in case they experience these reactions.