When a person comes in contact or is exposed to certain foreign elements like pollen, nuts, or even bee stings, the immune system in the body sometimes overreact and try to eliminate those foreign materials. The end result is that the person would experience a congested nose, difficulty breathing, or even hives. This is the basis of a person having an allergic reaction to a certain foreign body. In this article, we will try to discuss what causes an allergic reaction and the different allergy treatments that could be used.
What Exactly is an Allergy?
An allergy is a hypersensitive reaction of the immune system to a harmless substance in the environment. Allergies don’t happen straight away. The process called ‘sensitization’ has to take place before an allergic reaction could occur. Sensitization is the process where the person’s immune system develops antibodies to eliminate an allergen after exposure to said foreign body for a certain number of times.
Almost all allergies are triggered when a person comes in contact with allergens that they are hypersensitive to, so the best way to treat allergies is to avoid them in any way possible. Some allergens are also present in the air, like pollen. An effective way to avoid these is by wearing a face mask or even long sleeved shirts to lessen the chances of coming in contact with those substances.
There are various medications that are available in drug stores to treat allergies. Some could be bought even without a prescription. Try consulting a doctor or pharmacist first before taking any of these drugs.
1. Antihistamines – These drugs can stop the flow of histamine in the body to deter an allergic reaction. This is helpful for people with allergic rhinitis, hives, and sneezing.
2. Decongestants – These are only short-term medications and are specifically used for allergic reactions caused by airborne allergens like pollen and dust, the main cause for a congested nose.
3. Anti-leukotrienes or leukotriene receptor antagonists – Anti-leukotrienes or leukasts are drugs used for people with allergic asthma and other inflammatory reactions.
4. Steroid nasal sprays – These can be used as both long-term medication or only when necessary. Steroid sprays are used to treat people with hay fever and is also an effective decongestant.
Allergen immunotherapy are for those who already have a serious allergic condition that could also be life threatening. This treatment involves the patient being given a gradual amount of allergens over a period of time for them to develop immunity or ‘hyposensitization’. This is the most effective way to treat allergies and also the most expensive.
Allergy treatments can be quite expensive if every now and then you have to buy medications to alleviate the symptoms. Allergies could sometimes disappear completely over time and some would last a lifetime. The only way one could completely not trigger these allergens in the environment is by avoidance.
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