An allergic reaction is the body’s response to the presence of antigens in the body. The immune system in our bodies is attuned to detect and destroy invading agents. These invading agents are called antigens and are considered as a threat. The body produces antibodies to identify and destroy these antigens. An allergic reaction occurs whenever these antibodies are produced in large quantities. The production of such antibodies starts a chain of events that culminate in an allergy like symptom.
Allergy symptoms can vary from individual to individual. Hence, it becomes important to become aware of the causes and symptoms of allergy. The following paragraphs contain a list of causes and symptoms of allergy.
Allergy Symptoms may vary from mild, moderate to severe. Given below is a list of symptoms for these categories.
Mild - Symptoms like redness of skin, rashes, watery nose and watery eyes. These symptoms are confined to local parts of the body and do not spread to other areas.
Moderate – Itchiness that spreads to other parts of the body, swelling of eye and other parts of the face and sometimes tongue, nose block, sinus problem, difficulty in breathing, reddened skin especially the face, etc.
Severe - Dizziness, disorientation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting are some of the easily recognizable symptoms. Some other types of symptoms are – excessive swelling of the face and the oesophagus, sudden itching of the face particularly of the eyes that can become difficult to manage.
The substances which release particles that are considered antigens are all around us. Here is a list of such substances that cause allergy.
Foodstuff – Shellfish as well as some other varieties of fishes, strawberries and peanuts are all substances that cause an allergic reaction. Several other food items can cause allergy. To find out the particular food item which causes allergy, you need to keep track of your diet.
Medicines – Antibiotics like penicillin and aspirin are known to cause allergy in some patients. Even iodine is a source of allergic reaction. Besides antibiotics, anesthetics also cause allergic reactions in the body.
Natural Substances - Animal dander, pollen grains, and certain plants for example poison ivy are all allergy-causing agents. Mold and dust are two substances that occur naturally all around us and can be allergic. Some insects too can cause allergic reaction in humans. Examples are – fire ants and bees.
Medical conditions - Certain medical conditions too cause allergic reactions. The patient may be either aware or unaware of these conditions. Some examples are – sensitive skin condition like eczema, nasal polyps, sensitive sinuses, ears and upper respiratory tract, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) etc.
Other Causes – Some other factors that may lead to allergic reactions are as follows – variations in temperature, changing seasons, stress, injuries and strong emotions.