What does the medical term ‘allergy’ mean?

An allergy is a damaging immune response by the body to a substance, especially a particular food, pollen, fur, or dust, to which it has become hypersensitive

What does the medical term ‘allergy’ mean?
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A person can have an allergy to different kind of foreign stimuli. For instance a person can have an adverse reaction to dust, pollen, medicine, fur, eggs and the list goes on. A common allergy witnessed in Western countries is a peanut allergy, but Indians rarely get affected with a peanut allergy.

Allergy inducing substances  can also include materials such as pet dander, pollen, or bee venom. Anything can be an allergen if the immune system has an adverse reaction.

A substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an allergen. Allergens can be found in food, drinks, or the environment.

Many allergens are harmless and do not affect most people. If a person is allergic to a substance, such as pollen, their immune system reacts to the substance as if it was foreign and harmful, and tries to destroy it.

My Medical Mantra delved deeper into this subject to simply what exactly being allergic to a thing means.

While speaking about this topic, Dr Shrinivas Chavan, Professor and Head of ENT department at Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, said, “An allergy occurs when the body gives a hypertensive response to a certain unpleasant stimulus. It is a myth that an allergy is an infection. There are different types of allergies. And different people can have various reactions to various stimuli.”

He added, “A person can have varying responses to an allergy. For example, a person can have a dry throat or swelling in fingers, their responses can symptomatic or in relation with the thing that they are allergic to.”

Dr Chavan further informed, “Although, I see various patients who come for consultation, the most common allergic condition that I have come across is allergic rhinitis. The important thing is that if you have an allergy for a long period of time, then it can take a toll on your health.”

He explained, “Over time, a patient suffering from allergic rhinitis can face problems such as hearing loss. This condition is normally witnessed in people in the age group of 20-40 years. People who take go for a morning walk and construction labourers are more prone to this condition.”

He concluded saying, “As well all know the old age prevention is better than cure. Although, there is cure to this condition; certain daily activities may aggregate this condition. Taking preventive measures to lessen the triggers is the only solution.”

The most effective treatment and management of an allergy is avoidance of the allergen.

There is no way to prevent an allergy. However, it is possible to limit symptoms.

Even though treatments can help alleviate allergy symptoms, patients will need to try to avoid exposure to specific allergens. In some cases, this is not easy.

If you have friends or family with pets, avoiding them might be difficult. Food allergies can be challenging to manage because traces of allergens can appear in unlikely meals. However, being vigilant about checking food packages can be a key way to avoid consuming certain allergens.

Make sure you receive proper allergy testing and know what substances to avoid.

Also Read :- New skin patch to the rescue for kids with peanut allergy