Ten Teasing Facts About Allergies

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1. Allergies are overreaction of the immune system.
• The immune system produces antibodies in response to foreign agents or organisms in the body which causes ill effects.
• Allergy came from the Greek word allos meaning “other” and ergon meaning “reaction”.
• It was Clemens von Pirquet, an Austrian scientist who first used the term allergy to describe hypersensitivity reactions.

2. Allergies are sequel of climate change.
• An unpredictable and unstable environmental temperature alongside with the harmful effects of pollutants and irritants lead to a significant alteration of the air we breathe.
• Furthermore, it contributes to the increase in allergen-containing aerosols in the ambient air which triggers allergy and affects human health in general.

3. Spring is allergy season.
• Allergic symptoms like runny and congested nose or inflamed sinuses and sneezing are more prevalent during springtime.
• Pollen (and dust) particles are the most common cause of allergy specifically ragweed (Ambriosia arteminisiifolia).
• Immune cells of the body start to resist these proteins of pollens that cause histamine level in the bloodstream to rise and is manifested by allergy symptoms.
• Moreover, geographical area with high pollen scores can provoke seasonal allergies.

4. Allergies can be life-threatening.
• Anaphylaxis is the most serious allergic reaction.
• It is an emergency condition that needs prompt treatment.
• It can affect multiple organ system such as the digestive, respiratory and circulatory system.
• The airway passages get inflamed and constrict leading to respiratory collapse which when left untreated may result to death.

5. Allergy is the 6th leading cause of illness in the United States.
• Knoxville Tennessee was named the allergy capital by asthma and allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
• This is primarily based on the prevalence of allergy, expenditures on medicines and high pollen count.

6. Anyone may develop allergy.
• Many allergens are airborne particles which can be easily acquired by anyone.
• Other forms of allergy:
o Latex allergy from the protein content of a latex rubber (condom and gloves). FYI, you have latex allergy if you are allergic to kiwi fruit.
o Food allergy such as from nuts, milk, eggs etc. It is more prevalent in young children.
o Drug allergy is hypersensitivity to a certain drug component (eg. Penicillin).

7. Allergies cannot be prevented.
• Management is focused on the reactions and clinical symptoms of the patient.
• Medications are often used (anti-histamine or corticosteroids) to counteract reactions and lessen symptoms.

8. Metals can also trigger allergy.
• An adverse reaction following a body piercing with the use of jewelry with nickel. This is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis.
• In fact, once nickel allergy is triggered it will persist for life.

9. Insect sting can cause allergy.
• Insect-stinging venom like bees, hornets and ants can generate allergic response.
• A local reaction to the sting site may swell brought about by immune response (histamine release).
• Application of topical anti-histamine or ice pack over the sting site may help reduce the swelling.

10. Have you ever encounter the term “sex allergy”?
• Yes, you heard it right. There is an allergic reaction that may occur short after intercourse.
• Seminal plasma hypersensitivity is a rare condition caused by reactions to the protein content of the seminal fluid.
• Based from researches, facts were established about this odd type of allergy.
• Antibodies are formed against protein substances in the male seminal fluid (not the sperm itself).
• Women who are susceptible to some form of allergy from other substances tend to develop this kind of allergy.
• This can be prevented by using mechanical barriers like condom.

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