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.