What Are the Basics of Allergies?

What are allergies?

Your immune system identifies a particular substance as harmful, even if it’s not. This can lead to inflammation. That’s when allergies occur.
Allergies have varying severities. They could be minor or life-threatening.

What are symptoms of allergies?

Different types of allergies have different symptoms.
Symptoms of food allergy include:

  • Hives
  • Tingling mouth
  • Swollen face, lips, or tongue
  • Anaphylaxis

Symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Red, or watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes, or nose

Symptoms of drug allergy include:

  • Rash
  • Swollen face
  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Anaphylaxis

What are causes of allergies?

You have allergies when your immune system believes you have come into contact with a harmful substance which actually is not harmful. The immune system produces antibodies that release certain chemicals as a result. These chemicals can cause allergy symptoms.

Things that often cause allergies include:

  • Medicines
  • Stings from insects
  • Some foods
  • Airborne allergens


How do doctors diagnose allergies?

Possible steps for diagnosis include:

  1. A doctor will ask about your symptoms
  2. You will have a check-up
  3. The doctor will ask you to keep a diary of your signs


How are allergies treated?

Possible treatment options include:

  • Medicines. Over-the-counter or prescription drugs may be suggested by your doctor.
  • Allergen avoidance. Your doctor will help you find out your allergen(s), and ask you to avoid contact with them.
  • Immunotherapy. Your doctor will use this method when other options don’t work. This involves putting a certain pill under your tongue until it dissolves or injections of purified allergen extracts.


What are medications for allergies?

Over-the-counter drugs include:

  • Levocetirizine
  • Cetirizine
  • Loratadine
  • Fexofenadine

Prescription drugs include:

  • Azelastine
  • Desloratadine
  • Elestat


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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.