The topic of allergies has become routine in our lives, and certainly most everyone has an idea of what an allergy is.
An allergy is an abnormal reaction by a person’s immune system against a normally harmless substance. A person without allergies would have no reaction to this substance, but when a person who is allergic encounters the trigger, the body reacts by releasing chemicals that cause allergic symptoms.
It is unknown why some people develop allergies and some don’t. Allergies seem to run in families and in some cases family members can share allergies to specific foods or medications. It appears that the allergic response was once meant to protect the body against parasitic infections, although now seems to be an abnormal response to non-infectious triggers. Allergies can occur at anytime during our lives, but are more common to occur during childhood or young adulthood.
SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGIES
1. ATOPIC DERMATITIS
This is typically the first sign of allergies and is seen in 10-20% of all children, frequently during infancy. Atopic Dermatitis, or Eczema is characterised by itching, with rash formation at the sites of scratching .The rash is typically red and dry, may have small blisters, and can flake and ooze overtime.In infants and very young children, this rash involves the face (especially the cheeks), chest and trunk, back of the scalp and may involve the arms and legs. This distribution reflects where the child is able to scratch, and therefore usually spares the diaper area. The location of the rash changes in older children and adults to classically involve the skin in front of the elbows and behind the knees. Food and environmental allergies have been shown to worsen atopic dermatitis.
2. FOOD ALLERGIES
Food allergies can occur at any age. Almost all people with food allergies will have a skin symptom, such as hives, swelling, itching or redness of the skin, as a result of eating the culprit food. These symptoms typically appear within a few minutes of eating the food in question, although they can be delayed up to a couple of hours.
Other symptoms of food allergies can include nausea, vomiting, stomach aches, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties (asthma symptoms) , runny nose, sneezing, and light-headedness. In some cases, children can experience a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis which can be life threatening
3. NASAL ALLERGIES (ALLERGIC RHINITIS)
Allergic Rhinitis occurs in up to 30% of adults and up to 40% of children. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose and eye and nasal congestion. Some people may also experience post nasal drip, allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes), and a line across the nasal bridge from an upward rubbing of the palm of the hand on the nose, a sign called the “Allergic Salute’’.
Approximately half of all the people with allergic rhinitis also have a component of non-allergic rhinitis to their symptoms. Unlike allergies which can be a seasonal problem,
symptoms of non –allergic rhinitis are typically year–round. Non-allergic rhinitis also tends to be more common as people age, where as allergic rhinitis tends to affect children and young adults.
Non-allergic rhinitis has many different forms.
» Vasomotor rhinitis is triggered by physical condition such as strong odours, perfumes, changes in temperature and humidity, smoke, fumes and bright sunlight. Most patients experience a runny nose, postnasal drip or nasal congestion. Itching of the nose and eyes is typically not present.
» Infectious rhinitis is typically related to a viral or bacterial infection, and symptoms can mimic a sinus infection, with facial pain and green nasal discharge. However these patients do not have evidence of a sinus infection on X-rays. This disease process resolves on its own within a few days, and responds to oral antibiotics in severe or prolonged cases, just as a sinus infection would.
» Hormonal rhinitis can occur during pregnancy and in patients with low thyroid functions. Pregnant women usually have symptoms of severe nasal congestion occurring during their second month of pregnancy, and this can persist until the baby is born. Symptoms typically disappear shortly after delivery.
» Medication induced rhinitis occur in many patients using high blood pressure medication, birth control pills and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin and ibuprofen)
» Rhinitis medicamentosa is related to overuse of over the counter decongestant spray, such as oxymetazoline, with symptoms of severe nasal congestion and runny nose. People who over use these sprays essentially become “addicted” to the medication, needing more and more medication to control their symptoms.
» Gustatory rhinitis can be related to food or alcohol intake, but is rarely due to an allergic cause. People suffering from this form of rhinitis experience a runny nose, usually of a clear, watery fluid, particularly after eating hot or spicy foods.
» Rhinitis related to acid reflux disease is particularly common in young children with symptoms of nasal congestion, runny nose and post-nasal drip. Symptoms may tend to occur after heavy meals, or in the morning after the person has been having acid reflux while lying flat at night.
Allergies are a major cause of asthma, a condition that occurs in about 80% of all people. Though it can occur at any age, it is most often seen in males in the pre-teen years and in females in the teenage years, asthma is the most common chronic disease in children and young adults.
Symptoms of Asthma may include:-
» Coughing – This can be the only symptom in some people who have “Cough- Variant Asthma” .The Cough is often dry, hacking and may be worse with allergic triggers and after exercise. The cough may only be present at night. Cold air may also trigger this symptom.
» Wheezing – This is a high-pitched, musical like sound that can occur with breathing in and out in people with asthma. Wheezing usually occurs along with other asthma. Symptoms may get worse with exercise and with allergic triggers.
» Shortness of breath – Most people with asthma feel as if they are not getting enough air at times, particularly when they are physically exerting themselves or when an allergic trigger is present. People with more severe asthma have shortness of breath at rest or wake –up with these symptoms during the night.
» Chest Tightness – Some people describe this as a sensation that someone is squeezing or hugging them. Children may say that their chest hurts or feels “funny”. Many asthmatics have symptoms with exercise; this doesn’t necessarily mean that their asthma is severe or uncontrolled.
HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR ALLERGIES
There are a few reasons why people prefer homoeopathy for allergy problems.
Homoeopathic Medicine doesn’t suppress the disease, as it is a natural form of medicine. The medicine used are highly diluted and so they are very safe and without any side effects. More over the aim of homoeopathic treatment is complete and permanent cure so Constitutional Treatment is given considering patient as a whole.
Dr Soumya Krishna