Allergies represent a disorder of the immune system that manifest itself as a hypersensitivity to numerous substances called allergens. According to the most recent studies, allergies affect about 50 million Americans. The most common reactions for allergies include hay fever, sneezing, asthma attacks, vomiting, eczema, hives and different reactions to the insects’ sting (most commonly wasps and bees). The symptoms can be categorized into mild and severe, indicating the intensity of the allergic response.
There are two types of factors that can cause allergies: host factors and environmental factors. While host factors include heredity, age, gender and race, the environmental factors include food allergens, non-food protein allergens and toxins.
The allergy’s symptoms could be mistaken as different diseases and usually the allergy diagnosis must be confirmed by further tests. There are two types of test that can confirm without a doubt the allergy diagnosis, the skin testing and blood testing. Both methods are reliable, but the blood testing is more comfortable for the patient.
The traditional treatment for allergies consists in avoiding the allergens. For some allergens like cat hair, some foods can be easily avoided while others such as pollen or dust cannot be avoided. In those cases specific drugs can be used to ease the symptoms.
Another solution could be the immunotherapy also known as desensitization. The immunotherapy consists in repeated vaccinations with progressively larger doses of the allergen to reduce the severity of the allergy or even to completely eliminate the immune system hypersensitivity to that particular allergen.
The allergies are more and more studied each year and soon will probably appear more effective drugs and treatments for this disease that seems to affect more people as time passes by.