Allergy - the increased sensitivity of the body's immune defense, which is observed in the case of repeated exposure of the allergen to an organism sensitized earlier by this allergen. In other words, the immune system under the influence of a number of certain circumstances begins to react aggressively to often absolutely harmless various substances, taking them for extremely dangerous and alien.
Allergy is a kind of perverse way to protect the human body. For example, in the spring, the immune system mistakenly decides that the pollen of birch that blooms at this time is a very strong poison for a person and starts from it very actively to protect the body. At the present time, various allergic conditions have spread very widely and according to statistical data, about 30% of the total population of our planet are now observed.
Some researchers reasonably call allergy a disease of the 21st century, as every year it affects an increasing number of people. In most cases, allergy is not treated, and all basic therapy is reduced to isolating the causative provoking allergen, since it is prevention that has a much greater positive effect than any, even the most modern treatment. And first of all, for the success of preventive actions, it is necessary to draw the right conclusions about the causes of allergy development.
Allergy is an individual disease, as some people are allergic to dust, others have allergies to animal hair, others have food allergies, etc. It is the allergy that most often provokes the development of such diseases as hives, bronchial asthma and various dermatitis. Accompanying allergy may be some infectious diseases (infectious allergies). In addition, the same provoking allergen in different people can manifest themselves with different symptoms at different times.
Over the past few decades, there has been a sharp jump in the incidence of allergies. This phenomenon is explained differently by different researchers: it is the theory of the effect of hygiene, when compliance with hygienic norms deprives the body of contact with most allergens, which in turn causes a weakening of the development of the immune system; the following theory is that the increasing consumption of various products of the chemical industry every day disrupts the adequate functioning of the endocrine and nervous systems, which in turn creates the prerequisites for the development of response allergic reactions, etc.
Causes of allergies
Today, the following causes of allergies can cause the development of an allergic disease:
• Excessively sterile living conditions. However strange it may sound, excessive sterility in everyday life and rare contact with various infectious agents can lead to a shift in the immune system towards allergic manifestations. This is associated with a much higher incidence of allergy in residents of megacities than in families of rural residents. In addition, this fact explains the greater prevalence of allergic reactions in people with a higher social status
• Heredity. It is a proven fact that an allergy is capable of being passed on to children from parents, often on the maternal side. In children of allergy sufferers in about 70% of cases, the mother suffers from any form of allergy (if the child has an allergic father, then no more than 30% of the children). If the allergy is observed in both parents, the risk of its development in the child is at least 80%
• Diseases of internal organs. The impetus to the development of an allergic reaction is sometimes caused by failures in the adequate work of internal organs, various diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, nervous and endocrine systems, liver, and so on.
• Environmental factors. Thanks to the "achievements" of modern civilization, from the first day of life each person begins to actively contact with numerous and diverse chemical substances and aggressive aerosols. Almost all modern food products contain hormones, antibiotics, biologically active substances, etc. People are exposed to practically constant exposure to electromagnetic radiation. All this can not pass without a trace, which is confirmed by the rapid growth of allergic pathology
• Frequent infectious diseases, if they are especially observed at an early age, create serious prerequisites for the future development of an allergy
Allergies can be caused by foreign proteins, mold fungi, plant pollen, food products, medicines, animal wool, insect bites, various chemicals, etc., contained in vaccines and donor plasma.
Until now, it remains unclear why on some people the same environmental factors have an allergic effect, while others do not. Also, there was no trace of any relationship between the development of an allergy and the current state of health, while there is a fairly common belief that an allergy can develop due to a strong slagging of the body. Today, there is no longer any doubt that allergies in children often develop in the case of changes in the intestinal microflora ( dysbacteriosis ) and can cause eczema, food allergies and atopic dermatitis. Some types of allergies can lead to the development of such serious enough diseases as bronchial asthma, eczema, atopy, and so on.
More → The causes of allergies
False allergic (pseudoallergic) reactions
I want to talk about pseudoallergic reactions separately. These conditions externally very much resemble a classic allergy, but they do not directly involve the immune system. There are many reasons for the development of false allergic reactions. This is the excessive use of products containing histamine (the most common cause), the disruption of adequate work of the gastrointestinal tract, parasitic diseases, various violations in the work of the liver, etc. The most common provocators of this state are seafood, sea fish, citrus, sauerkraut, chocolate, wine, some cheeses, etc. The difference between pseudoallergia and true allergy is that the symptomatology develops only after the ingestion of a very large amount of an allergen. For example, a child eats half of the chocolate without any visible consequences, whereas after eating the whole, red spots appear on his face, which are usually manifestations of a false allergic reaction.
Allergy to alcohol is a very common provocateur of the development of a false allergic reaction. Especially in this "succeeded" vermouths, liqueurs and wines (red wine leads with a large margin). It has been established experimentally that the more aged and older the wine, the more it forms substances, leading to the development of a pseudoallergic reaction.
The timely separation of reactions into true and false is very important, since their treatment is fundamentally different, however, only a qualified allergist who has previously had similar work experience with similar diseases
Symptoms of an allergy
Symptoms of allergies are both general and local. The general symptoms of allergies are usually attributed to fever, chills, impaired consciousness, a drop in blood pressure, pale skin, inhibition, or the opposite of excitement. Common symptoms of allergy are also observed with such severe allergic manifestations as anaphylactic shock and Quincke's edema.
Local allergy symptoms can manifest from the side of the bronchial tree, mucous nasopharynx, gastrointestinal tract and skin.
• Symptoms of allergies from the side of the bronchial tree and nasopharynx are manifested by dry cough, throat swelling, stuffy nose, shortness of breath, rhinorrhea, sneezing, lack of air, wheezing in the chest and choking.
An example of diseases with such symptoms: allergic bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis
• Symptoms of eye allergy are manifested by eyelid swelling, lacrimation, burning, itching, sensation in the eye of the foreign body, redness around the eyes of the skin.
Allergic conjunctivitis is a classic example of an allergic eye disease
• GIT symptoms are manifested by nausea, frequent loose stool, abdominal pain and increased gas
• Skin allergy symptoms ( allergy to the skin ) are manifested by skin rashes like papules or blisters, sensitivity to various external physical stimuli (sun, cold, water, etc.), redness, burning, itching and dry skin. Rashes from the surrounding skin are sharply delineated, tend to merge and migrate.
Examples of allergic diseases with a prevalent skin lesion: allergic contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis.
Often, with allergic diseases, there is a presence of both local and general symptoms (allergy to insect bites, etc.)
More → Symptoms of Allergy
This form of allergy is rare enough and manifests as a rash as a normal urticaria. In people who are predisposed to this, this happens with any kind of heat exposure, for example, after taking not necessarily even a very hot bath, large enough blisters appear on the skin that are accompanied by severe itching. To confirm the diagnosis, apply any object heated to forty eight degrees to the skin and hold it for about three minutes. Treatment is no different from the treatment of other allergic diseases. As a preventive measure, it is recommended to avoid provoking factors. Often, a thermal allergy is combined with a solar allergy
Allergy to the sun (solar allergy)
Most often, an allergy to the sun is manifested by the appearance on the skin of the red spots, which can occur both immediately after exposure to exposed sunlight, and after a certain time. Only open areas of the body are affected.
Increase the susceptibility to ultraviolet radiation when ingested or on the skin the following substances: St. John's wort, yarrow, figs, lime, fennel, dill, carrots, celery. This ability is also observed in such drugs as tetracycline, vitamin E, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, griseofulvin and some antibiotics, so their use in potential periods of exacerbation is undesirable. To determine the appropriate treatment should determine the reasons for the development of this form of allergy. It can be endocrine diseases , liver diseases, helminthiases, etc.
Treatment of sun allergy is strict adherence to the protective regime, when patients with ultraviolet allergy should constantly avoid prolonged exposure to exposed sunlight and always use special protective creams with a high degree of protection before going out. In addition, according to indications, it is possible to prescribe sorbents and antihistamines. A good positive effect gives plasmapheresis
More → Allergy to the sun
Allergy to insect bites
This kind of allergic reaction is considered to be one of the most dangerous and severe, since in addition to pronounced symptoms, allergies to insect bites often develop such life-threatening systemic reactions as anaphylactic shock and Quincke's edema.
For edema Quincke is characterized by swelling of the neck and face, skin in the area of the swelling become red. Often observed leading to shortness of breath and shortness of breath swelling of the upper respiratory tract. In the case of progression of the disease without providing the proper timely honey. help, Quincke's edema ends with complete swelling of the respiratory tract and, accordingly, lethal outcome
Read more → Quincke Edema
Anaphylactic shock is characterized by the initial manifestation of a general allergic symptomatology. The patient at first is excessively strongly excited, after which there is a rapid depression of consciousness, down to its complete loss. The frequency of respiration and cardiac contractions increases markedly, blood pressure drops, dyspnea occurs. In the place of the bite, the skin itchs badly, swells, and its redness is observed. The main threat with allergy to insect bites is that the allergen enters the body so rapidly that a person simply does not manage to protect himself from it. In the absence of timely emergency care, the risk of death is very high. According to the frequency of lethal outcomes of anaphylactic shock, an allergy to insects stands on a confident first place. That is why all patients with a predisposition to the development of this condition should always carry a so-called anti-shock kit, which includes: 2 ampules of prednisolone + 1 ampoule of suprastin + 0.1% of epinephrine and syringes. In the case of an insect bite, these preparations should be introduced without delay. Previously, the whole sequence of actions must be agreed with the attending physician
More → Anaphylactic shock
Allergies to sperm
Increasingly, there is now an allergy to seminal fluid. The risk factors for the development of antisperm antibodies in the female body include a frequent change of sexual partners, urogenital infections and a general allergic predisposition. Manifestations of this form of allergy are usually treated with swelling and local itching after sexual intercourse, but sometimes in especially severe cases can lead to infertility. Allergic mood can develop as a semen per se, and on the seminal fluid of a particular man. Therapy of this form of allergy is carried out jointly by gynecologists and allergists
Allergies in children
In children, the allergy has some distinctive features. In this case, we are talking about the most significant allergens that can cause the development of allergic reactions. In children under five years on the first place for allergenic food allergens are (most often fish, eggs, milk and nuts). Pollen and household (animal hair, dust, etc.) allergens begin to predominate in older children.
Symptoms of allergies in young children (in newborns in particular) are usually manifested by the defeat of the skin. Most often, children under the age of diagnosed with atopic dermatitis , which is sometimes mistakenly called "diathesis." As a rule, in children the symptoms of allergic dermatitis first appear on the face, after which the whole body can be covered. As a rule, the allergy in children is much more vivid than in adults.
Also in childhood, pseudoallergic reactions are quite widespread, the causes of which are usually parasitic diseases and disrupted GIT. Only an experienced doctor will be able to distinguish pseudoallergia from a true allergy, which is why in case of signs of allergy in children, it is necessary not to delay seeking help from a medical institution.
Treatment of allergies in children often differs nothing from therapeutic tactics used in the treatment of other diseases of allergic nature, with only one correction - the greatest therapeutic effect at this age is achieved after allergen-specific therapy (immunotherapy)
More → Allergy in children
Treatment of allergies
To treat all diseases of an allergic nature, several groups of time-tested medications are used, the order, dosage and combination of which is determined exclusively by the attending physician, based on each specific situation. Incorrectly selected treatment can cause side effects (always appear in case of misuse of antiallergic drugs) and lead to aggravation of the disease. And self-medication of an allergy in general is inadmissible, as can lead irreversible consequences.
. • Treatment of allergy with antihistamines . Antihistamines are the most known and effective antiallergic drugs. In recent years, doctors usually prefer drugs of the second (Claritin, Kestin, Cetrin, etc.) and the third (Zirtek, Xizal, Erius, Telfast, etc.) generations. For all these drugs, a characteristic feature is a single daily intake for usually not more than seven days (in particularly severe cases, several months can be applied)
. • Treatment of allergies with cromoglic acid derivatives . These drugs are old enough, but still used by a group of drugs that are released in the form of aerosols for inhalation (Tileed, Intal), nose spray (Cromoglin, Kromogeksal) and eye drops (eye drops Kromogeksal). Due to the rather low effectiveness of these drugs, they are used only in case of mild disease
. • Treatment of allergy with glucocorticosteroid drugs . Glucocorticosteroids are very powerful antiallergic agents that will only be used as prescribed by a doctor! Corticosteroids are produced both in the form of injectable preparations and tablets, and in the form of such local agents as creams, ointments, sprays, etc.
Drugs of local action in the treatment of allergies now occupy a large enough place, and they are used both for the removal of acute conditions, and as a supportive permanent treatment for allergies. These drugs are available in the form of creams and ointments (Advantan, Lokoyd), aerosols for inhalation (Fliksotid, Beklozon) and nasal sprays (Nazonex, Fliksonase). Despite the fact that all the drugs of the latest generation are virtually devoid of side effects, which are traditionally attributed to hormones - they can be used only after appointment by a specialist, while never exceeding the prescribed duration of treatment and dosage.
For systemic action, the drugs are produced in injection and tablet forms (Metipred, Dexamethasone, Prednisolone, etc.) and are prescribed by short courses (no more than five days) during periods of allergy exacerbation. In the case of prolonged use of corticosteroids, the development of such side effects as rapid body weight gain ( obesity ), increased blood pressure, diabetes mellitus , peptic ulcer , etc., is the only reason for this. These drugs are prescribed only in cases of severe allergic disease, other possible treatment options did not yield positive results
. • Treatment of allergy with leukotriene receptor antagonists . This group of antiallergic drugs in practice has shown its rather high efficiency in the treatment of bronchial asthma and some forms of hives. The most commonly used drug from this group is the Singular, available in the form of tablets of 5 and 10 mg. Due to the fact that the drug showed its effectiveness in the treatment of not all allergic diseases, it should be used only after consulting a doctor
. • Treatment of allergies by sorbents . Despite the fact that sorbents are not used as direct antiallergic drugs, they are still used for more active excretion of allergens from the body. Sorbents are traditionally prescribed at the time of an exacerbation of allergies. The greatest effectiveness they showed with skin allergic symptoms. The most commonly used sorbents for allergies are: ordinary activated carbon, Enterosgel, Filtrum, Lactofiltrum
в лечении аллергии. • Immunotherapy (allergen - specific therapy) in the treatment of allergies. The goal of specific immunotherapy is to create immunity to a substance that the body responds to by an excessive immune response. This therapy should be performed only by an allergist in a specialized hospital or office.
The treatment itself is mandatory during the period of remission, usually in the winter or autumn season. Therapeutic tactics consist in the introduction of allergic to constantly increasing doses provoking the development of the reaction of the allergen, starting with negligible. Duration of treatment can last for years, but in most cases, a person develops persistent immunity to this allergen. The earlier the treatment was started, the greater the likelihood of a positive outcome. This method is most effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma
More → Treatment of allergies
Physiotherapeutic procedures for allergies
Currently, the treatment of allergic diseases is reduced not only to immunotherapy and the prescription of antiallergic drugs. Importance of the physicians attached to the use of various physiotherapy procedures.
. • A speleocamera for allergies . The speleocamera is one of the most effective physiotherapeutic methods, which is used to treat allergic damage to the upper respiratory tract ( allergic rhinitis , allergic bronchial asthma). The procedure itself involves finding a patient in a room saturated with ions of salts, which not only has a positive therapeutic effect on allergic upper respiratory tract, but also increases the state of the immune defense
. • Plasmapheresis for allergies . This method implies a hardware purification of blood plasma, during which part of the plasma is removed from the body. This is done to ensure that it is in the plasma that the main number of mediators and biologically active substances are present, which are directly involved in the development of an allergic reaction. After that, the removed plasma is replaced with appropriate solutions. Plasmapheresis can be used in the complex treatment of exacerbations of absolutely any allergic diseases (with severe forms of atopic dermatitis, with exacerbation of urticaria, allergic bronchial asthma, etc.). However, most often plasmapheresis is prescribed for moderate to severe degrees of allergy
. • Hyperbaric chamber in the treatment of allergies . For the treatment of allergic diseases, the pressure chamber is rarely used. The procedure itself involves placing the patient in a special sealed chamber, which creates an increased air pressure. Often in the pressure chamber oxygen is mixed with special gas mixtures. Usually this method is used to treat patients with respiratory diseases of an allergic nature
. • VLOK (Intravenous laser irradiation of blood) . This method is quite new, but in terms of treating allergies has proved to be very effective. During the course of the VLOK session, the patient is injected with a needle in the vein (more often at the ulnar fold), to the end of which an optical fiber is attached, according to which preset characteristics a laser pulse is applied. Intravenous laser irradiation of blood can be used to treat most allergic diseases (allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, urticaria , atopic dermatitis, etc.). In addition to a sufficiently strong anti-inflammatory effect, VLOK has a pronounced immuno-fortifying effect
Treatment of allergies in pregnancy
Quite often, pregnancy , due to the natural immune changes occurring in the body at that time, provokes an aggravation of allergy. However, in this period, the selection (corresponding to the current situation) of treatment should be as cautious as most antiallergic drugs can potentially adversely affect the developing fetus. In the diagnosis of the cause of allergy during pregnancy, carrying out skin tests is unacceptable, only a blood test for specific immunoglobulins is possible.
Antihistamines during pregnancy should be used as little as possible, and in case of emergency it is necessary to use only third-generation drugs in minimally effective dosages
More → Allergy during pregnancy