How do allergies trigger hay fever, asthma or hives?Allergy is more common now than in previous generations, and has approximately doubled in the last 30 years. It results (in part) from the release of irritant chemicals (such as histamine) into the tissues. The result is hay fever, asthma, food allergy or hives (urticaria).
What causes allergy symptoms?
Underneath the lining of the skin, gut, lungs, nose and eyes are mast cells. These are designed to kill worms and parasites. Mast cells are like "land-mines", and contain "bags" filled with irritant chemicals including histamine. When these are released in small amounts, they cause irritation. In larger amounts, they can cause rashes, the sneezing of hay fever and the wheeze of asthma.
What happens during an allergic reaction?
Mast cells are armed with proteins called IgE antibodies, which act as remote sensors in the local environment. A person allergic to peanut, for example, will have IgE antibodies capable of recognising the shape of peanut protein (the allergen), in much the same way that a lock "recognises" the shape of a key. When this happens, mast cells dump their contents into the tissues, causing an allergic reaction. Depending on where the reaction occurs, it may result in itchy skin rashes, itchy watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose, cough and wheeze or even more serious symptoms known as anaphylaxis.
Common allergy triggers
We can have allergic reactions to what we swallow (food or medicines), what we breathe in / inhale (eg. dust mite, pollens, mold spores or animal allergen), what we touch (eg. plants, animals, perfumes, cosmetic preservatives) or what is injected (eg. insect stings, medications, blood transfusions).
Allergies tend to run in families
Allergic people have a greater than average tendency to produce IgE antibodies to common environmental substances. This tendency is inherited and occurs in around 2 in 5 people. If you have one allergic parent, for example, there is around a 1 in 3 chance of developing allergies yourself. If you have two allergic parents, the risk doubles. In other words, you can pick your friends but not your parents!
Allergy is increasing
Allergy is more common now than in our parents' and grandparents' generation. A number of careful studies in Australia and abroad have shown that the frequency of hay fever, asthma, eczema and even food allergy appears to have doubled in the last 30 years. It is a true increase, and not just because doctors are better at diagnosing allergies.
Why is allergy increasing?
There are many theories to explain the fact that the incidence of allergy has approximately doubled in the last 20-30 years in almost every country in which it has been studied. Theories for which there is at least some evidence include:
Less exposure to parasitic disease in the developed world. This leaves one arm of the immune system with nothing to do except react against harmless "allergens".
Lower rates of breast-feeding.
Exposure to air pollution, particularly exposure to particulate matter from diesel fumes.
Exposure to cigarette smoke.
The "hygiene hypothesis", whereby exposure to less infection early in life increases the risk of developing allergies.
The Hygiene Hypothesis
Babies are born with an immune system which is inherently biased towards developing allergic-like reactions. These are called "type 2 response". A more balanced immune response is thought to require early exposure to infections. The first year of life appears to be the critical time in which this balance changes to a form of immunity that makes allergy less likely. Early exposure to infection is thought to "reset the balance" of the immune system by stimulating so-called "type 1 immune responses" instead. Recent studies have shown that multiple upper respiratory tract infections ("colds and flu's") in the first year of life may reduce the risk of developing asthma and hay fever by up to 50 %. There is also evidence that exposure to some gut bacteria may also play a role in modifying how the immune system develops in the first year of life. If this theory is proven, it may allow the development of new preventative strategies.
Homoeopathic remedies for allergy Rhinitis, Hay fever, dust allergy.
Remedies for Skin Allergy Urticaria:
Thank you for your attention.
Homoeopathic Dr. Saleem Hamid (Pakistan.)
shamid on 2003-10-20
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