Reaction to Allergens

Some interesting facts…

All of us are aware of the term “allergy” (or hypersensitivity) as we all experience some form of allergy at least once during our lifetime. However, even if we don’t experience it ourselves, we are still able to see people around us who suffer from different kinds of allergy. Allergies occur due to our body’s natural response to a foreign invader. This foreign invader is called as “Allergen”. Pollen grains, dust particles, and cigarette smoke are some common examples of Allergens. On the other hand, some food products can also induce allergic reactions. Allergens are normally harmless but they may induce severe reactions in some people. Hence, our body’s response to particular allergens is simply termed as “our body’s reaction to Allergens”.


Is every one sensitive to allergens?

Answer is No. Not everybody has an allergy to a particular substance or factor. Besides, different people have different forms of allergies, and, thus have a totally difference mechanism of reaction to allergens. For instance, you might develop pimples on your face after eating merely 50 grams of chocolate while your younger brother or sister might still be able to eat lots of chocolates whole day without any reaction at all. Similarly, you can witness so many chain smokers around you and yet you would also come across few people who can’t even bear sitting next to a person who is smoking. The latter case is because of those people’s sensitivity towards cigarette smoke.


How severe are allergic reactions?

Severity of allergic reactions depends on many factors. Firstly, it depends on the person as you know some people are too sensitive to allergens. Secondly, it depends on the type of allergen. For instance, pollen grain may induce a “Hay fever” while a person who inhales dust particle might sneeze a little bit and that’s it. However, some allergic reactions can be too severe. Anaphylaxis is one of the most dangerous forms of allergies and such an Allergic reaction can be life-threatening.


How do I know if I am having an “Allergic reaction”?

It is very simple to find out if your body is reacting to allergens since allergic reactions have effects that are usually persistent. Particularly, perennial allergic reactions can occur throughout the year. You can identify such reactions with the following symptoms:

  • Runny-nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • Rashes on skin
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • In severe cases such as Anaphylaxis, unconsciousness and abnormal heart beats.
  • In case of Asthma, breathlessness

Can I die because of an allergic reaction?

Most of the allergic reactions are mild and. However, there are potentially harmful forms of allergy that are known to have adverse effects on people. Anaphylaxis is one such form that affects the breathing and blood circulation of the person and in US alone, an estimated 150 people lose their lives annually due to Anaphylaxis.  Brittle Asthma is also potentially harmful for people.


How can I prevent allergic reactions?

Realistically speaking, you cannot totally prevent allergic reactions from happening as it is natural tendency of your body to overreact to some foreign invader. Normally, these reactions are harmless so you don’t need to worry unless you are experiencing severe form of allergies. However, you can always take some preventive measures. For instance, if you are allergic to animal fur, you should avoid keeping pet animals. Similarly, if you are allergic to cigarette smoke, you can always avoid company of people when they smoke.

If you try avoidance and still encounter severe symptoms of allergies, you should consult your doctor.

Pet Allergies, Types and Treatment


Who doesn’t love animals? We all do and especially when it comes to children, they surpass all in their fondness. They get amused by animals and therefore, children are always willing to visit Zoo. It has been a usual trend for many decades to keep a pet animal in the house. In United States alone, half of the households have dogs or cats as their pets. It is never a problem to keep pets if you can take good care of them. Usually, pets are harmless. However, pets can be a source of serious irritation if a person starts developing allergies due to them. Pets never know if they are causing you a problem but you may get angry on your pet if it becomes a source sickness for you. An estimated 10 % of the population may be allergic to animals. Similarly, people, who are already suffering from other allergies, are more susceptible to develop pet allergies.

What is pet allergy?


Pet allergy, like other allergies, is simply our body’s response (also called “histamine reaction”) to proteins found in animal’s skin, saliva, dander or urine. In other words, it occurs when our bodies become hypersensitive because of some allergens found in the pets.

What causes pet allergy?

Cats and dogs are the most common pets everywhere. In United States, six out of ten people come in contact with either cat or dog. Therefore, dog and cat allergies are too common. However, cat allergies are twice as common as that of dog allergies. Dogs and cats shed dander which can cause allergic reaction. If your pet licks you, you may develop pet allergy because dogs and cats have protein in their saliva which is known to cause allergic reactions. Similarly, animal hair and fur are not deemed as allergens but they may trap other allergens such as dust and pollen and become a source of allergy for the person.

Five cat allergens have been described in medical literature. The two major allergens are Fel d 1 (secretoglobin) and Fel d 4 (lipocalin). The minor allergens include Fel d 2 ( albumin), Fel d 3 (cystatin), and cat IgA (Immunoglobulin A).

How is it identified?

Swelling, inflammation in eyes, itch, tearing eyes, coughing and stuffy nose are the common symptoms. Furthermore, your skin area licked by the pet can turn red or develop rash. While pet allergies are usually mild, pet allergies can aggravate the condition of asthma patients. Pet allergy is diagnosed by RAST (radioallergosorbent test) blood test. Other common diagnosis method is to add cat in patient’s environment several times to see the patient’s reaction.

How is pet allergy treated?

You can get rid of pert allergy by keeping those pets which don’t have fur, feather or a problem of dander-shedding. For instance, you may keep fur-free dogs or turtles as pet animals. Furthermore, if you still want to stick to cats or dogs, you may keep them outside your home. You should make sure that you wash your pets very often. Try not to come in contact with them. The most viable way of preventing yourself from pet allergy is to avoid exposure to the animal as much as you can. Prevent cats and dogs from entering your bedroom, vacuum floors, ventilate your living areas, use pet hair removing rollers on furniture.

And, you should also make sure you avoid bad foods such as sugar , corn syrup, alcohol, products from white flour and limit exposure to salt, coffee and other nervous system stimulants. Exercise and take rest.