Last Updated on April 20, 2020
It happens sometimes that we get some embarrassing symptoms, without any obvious reason, bothering us in our daily activities and making us nervous and irritable. Suppose you have red eyes, with lots of tears, every day. What kind of doctor would you see? An ophthalmologist, right? I did exactly that and he prescribed me eyeglasses, which I did not need and I stopped wearing them after one month of forcing myself to live in the distorted world offered to me by this small accessory. That was the first time I heard about allergy and its effects.
Allergy is a common condition nowadays. It is defined as an abnormal reaction of the immune system to foreign substances. One can develop food allergy, dust allergy, dog allergy etc. The body reacts as if it was endangered, even though those substances are harmless (e.g. pollen, dust mites, some foods, insect bites or molds). Most common allergy reactions are red eyes, itchy nose, hay fever, eczema or urticaria. The worst of all is the anaphylactic shock, which is an extremely violent reaction, needing immediate treatment, as it can cause death by chocking.
Allergy Facts (source of data: medicinenet.com)
- It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions.
- The cost of allergies in the United States is more than $10 billion dollars yearly.
- Hay fever affects about 35 million Americans, 6 million of whom are children.
- Asthma affects 15 million Americans, 5 million of whom are children.
- The number of cases of asthma has doubled over the last 20 years.
Not everybody who has a red eyes condition is allergic. If you stare at TV of at your computer screen for many hours, you may end up with red eyes anyway. You can get the same effect after one hour of crying. Nevertheless, if this occurs quite often, then you should pay a visit to your doctor, as allergy, if not discovered can worsen over time, especially in case of regular exposure to specific allergens (the substances which cause you the allergic reaction).
Many people suspecting allergies see their family doctor for that. You may choose to visit an expert in allergies. Here are a few reasons to see an allergy expert:
- Your red eyes or itchy nose or other symptoms make daily activities hard or get worse every day
- Your regular doctor refers you to an expert for tests.
Allergy tests can be done to help identify if you are allergic, and what you are allergic to. Once allergies are identified, specific avoidance and treatment measures can be recommended. Talk with you doctor if you think you may have allergies and don’t forget to mention if any of your family members is allergic, as this increases your chances to develop an allergy, too.
The doctors will perform allergy tests on you, to determine the substances you are allergic to (if any). The tests are not very unpleasant. For example, the skin test means that a small quantity of the supposed allergen is placed onto your skin, then the skin is scratched. Within 20 minutes, the skin is observed for redness and swelling. If the skin develops a red, raised itchy area, it usually means that the person is allergic to that substance. This is called a positive reaction.
This is the most simple allergy test. There are also others, such as intradermal test, patch tests or blood tests.
The accuracy of allergy tests is still a dispute in the medical world, as it occurs that a patient suffering of an allergy to get a negative reaction to the test.
It is very important to discover the condition as early as possible, because if getting worse, it may become lethal.
And anyway, don’t spend so many hours in front of your TV set.
By the way: don’t forget to check on your pet. Did you know that dog allergy is also possible?