Allergies happen when the body tries to defend against non-harmful substances. While the body normally protects itself only from dangerous things like bacteria and viruses, in a person who has an allergic reaction, the body may try to defend itself from pollen, peanuts, or some other substance. Allergies can exist in many types, but the most common kinds of allergies are environmental allergies, food allergies, and skin allergies.
Environmental allergies like pollen, mold, pet dander, and dust are extremely common. Food allergies are also common. Allergies to peanuts and other nuts, milk, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, and many other things can occur. Some people also suffer from skin allergies, such as allergies to latex or particular chemicals found in detergents. People who are allergic tend to be more likely to have multiple allergens, but this isn't always the case.
Allergy attacks or allergic reactions are unique to the individual. Some common symptoms of environmental allergies include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, red nose, and itchy eyes. With food allergies, the symptoms often start around the mouth. This may include puffy lips, red lips, and itchiness in and around the mouth. Food allergies can also cause breathing issues or even fainting if the lack of oxygen is severe. In the case of skin allergies, the most common indicators are itchy skin, welts on the skin, and inflamed skin.
The best way to determine the allergen is to undergo allergy testing. This may include a "prick test," a skin test in which tiny drops of possible allergens are placed in pricks on the arm. A patch test, which also places small quantities of possible allergens against the skin, is another allergy testing option. Alternatively, a patient's blood may be drawn for allergy blood tests. In these tests, a number of different allergens are introduced to the blood sample to look for reactions.
The treatment for allergies is customized for the individual. Options can include oral medication, allergy shots, and lifestyle adjustments.
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