An allergy refers to a normal body immune system reaction towards foreign harmless substances invading the body. It is an immune response in presence of the substance also referred to as allergens which the individual is allergic to. The foreign substance is treated as an antigen causing production of the antibodies, the antibodies will then produce mediators the most common one being histamine which in turn cause the body to produce white cells. Allergies vary from one individual to another and a substance causing allergic reactions to one person may not cause the allergy to another person. These allergens could be from food, pollen, dust, animal fur, drugs and the list is endless (Kurowski &Boxer, 2 008).
Generally, allergies are harmless and will be exhibited by various symptoms which may include rashes, sneeze, swelling, tears, blistering and itchy sensations. It is important for parent to pay keen attention to their children and know if their child is allergic to anything in the event of raising them, this can be important since early detection helps in knowing what to keep the child away from to avoid the allergic reactions. It has also been shown that breast feeding the baby for more than four months will prevent the baby from getting certain allergic reactions. A majority of little ones having an allergy to foods such as milk, eggs and soy will outgrow their allergies at about six years of age but others may carry it forward ( Kurowski &Boxer,2 008). About twenty percent will outgrow the peanut allergies and about ten percent tree nut. Some allergies such as those from fish will develop later in life and rarely can the individuals outgrow this kind of allergy. The degree of reaction will depend on the amount of exposure to the substance triggering the allergy.
Although a majority of allergies are not life threatening, there are a few cases where an allergy can be severe and therefore fatal to some individuals and this can also be referred to as anaphylaxis. Some allergies such as those of asthmatic people can worsen in the presence of triggering factors such as dust, pollen and many others making it hard for the individual to breathe well. They should therefore be given more attention since an allergen towards them is fatal. Other conditions such as eczema and sinus problems are more likely to be complicated in presence of these allergens for a given person. The risk of developing allergic reactions has been associated with family history in allergic reactions.
Family and consumer science also focuses on several areas in the society one of which is heath. This focuses on nutrition, diseases and any other condition affecting health and general well being of an individual, it also focuses on the environment in which the society is living in. Since allergies affect the health of an individual, it therefore relates well with the topic of health and well being. allergies can result from certain food which the individual is allergic to, nutrition therefore plays an important role in this case since an alternative to the food one is allergic to has to be provided, in an example, some people are allergic to red meat which may cause them allergic reactions such as rashes on their skin and stomach upsets, in this case since they need the proteins, white meat can be provided for them instead which can be from fish, chicken or they can eat the eggs ( Kurowski &Boxer,2 008). This way, the individual gets their nutrients and suffers no reactions from the food given.
An individual with an allergy from certain foods should know what is in food that has prepared by someone else and inform them of his/he allergic reactions towards given food products or even some spices in food. Nearly ninety percent of allergies caused by food results from some proteins in foods such milk from cow, soybeans and a few more. The environment in which the society lives in also contain different types of allergens for different people, the environment or ecology contains a wide range of substances that could trigger a reaction and this include, dust, plants pollen, cold, and even sunlight in some cases. Some people are allergic to the fur of pets such as dogs and cats; in this case they should avoid keeping them. In order to maintain good health and an individual well being, allergens should be avoided or better ways be established to deal with them. For example, Sunscreen is used for those who cannot tolerate the sun for a long time.
It is important that an individual suspecting themselves to have any type of allergy be tested since there are tests that can be used to determine the type of allergy from the symptoms being exhibited by the patient or rule out the presence of an allergy altogether since some situation may produce symptoms resembling allergic reactions but are not such as a cough from an infection. There are some cases such as sensitivity which is the exaggerated side effects caused by a given substance and intolerance which could be mistaken for an allergy by an individual and hence the importance of consulting a physician.
The tests include but are not limited to skin prick test which is the most widely used test. It is performed by pricking the patient’s skin and introducing allergen suspected to cause a reaction (Lasley &Shapiro, 2000). The allergens tested can vary in number from one individual to another. Positive results from the test are detected by an itchy sensation on the skin after a few minutes followed by reddening and swelling (Lasley &Shapiro, 2000). Blood test on the other hand involves obtaining a sample of blood form the patient which is taken to the laboratory for analysis giving results following a few days. Blood test is mainly carried out for more severe allergies. Both the skin test and blood test involve the measurement of IgElevels which is an antibody where high levels indicate an allergic reaction. There are also treatment for certain types of allergies but it is important that this be by the direction of a physician after they have performed tests to determine the particular type of allergy. These treatments are available especially for anaphylaxis cases where epinephrine is used for treatment. Other types of medications that can be used will include the antihistamines, corticosteroids which are anti-inflammatory, leukotriene inhibitors and in other cases allergy shots care used in immunotherapy. Medication can however be avoided if the allergy is not much of a problem and the individual can live with it without any problem or if the allergen can be avoided with ease. Support groups for those willing to join for people with allergies can be of great help since they get to share on their experiences with the type of allergies they have, they can give each other new ideas that have worked for them and how they dealing with the condition or even in case of good treatment, they will get an opportunity to tell others and hence help each other by sharing information (Lasley &Shapiro, 2000).
Another important step is the individual letting the people around them such as friends and family know if they have an allergic reaction towards a given substance. This is because they will have prior knowledge of that person condition and will know how to help in case of a severe reaction and also avoid bringing possible allergens near them.
This topic is of great significance since it can benefit others on in that, they will get to understand allergies better form the few points put across, it will also be beneficial for those who may not have allergies themselves but they may know another person who suffers from allergic reactions and does not know how to go about it. In some cases, an individual may be suffering from exaggerated allergic reactions but may not know what is happening to them, this topic will in these cases raise awareness leading them to try and reason out when these reactions take place and whether they are being triggered by something in particular and hence seek medical help (Lasley &Shapiro, 2000). It is also important for a given individual or people to know that not every reaction is as a result of an allergic reaction hence the importance of consulting a doctor to confirm (Lasley &Shapiro, 2000). This is because one may decide to go for those over the counter drugs which may cause complications for the individual while they did not have any form of allergy. The topic also points on some causes of allergies, since some medical conditions such as asthma and eczema become more severe in the presence of allergens, this topic will also be beneficial to other in that, by knowing this, they will educate others who may not know and this information may reach someone who needs it.
Kurowski K & Boxer R. (2008).Food allergies: detection and management, 77. 12 - 16.
Lasley MV &Shapiro GG. (2000).Testing for allergy. Pediatrics in Review, 21. 39 – 43.