Allergy can be described as an abnormal response of the immune system. The immune (immune) system of individuals with allergies develops an extreme reaction to substances (allergens) that are generally harmless, such as pollen, mold, animal dander. Allergic skin diseases are more common in every age range, from children to the elderly, due to excessive urbanization, rapid increase in negative environmental factors, and increasing distance from natural nutrition.
What is Allergy?
The immune system identifies any molecule that is not registered in its memory as "foreign" and takes action to keep it under control. The immune system of some people reacts at a higher level and more complex to molecules in the living environment such as house dust and pollen, which most people are not affected by. In these cases, hypersensitivity is mentioned. Allergy can be termed as the body's abnormal response to "strangers".
In recent years, an increase has been observed in the frequency of allergic diseases in our country and all over the world.
What are the Causes of Allergy?
Studies have shown that genetic predisposition is an important factor in the development of allergy in a person. Individuals whose parents have allergic diseases may develop more allergic diseases.
Apart from genetic factors, environmental factors may also play a role in the formation of allergies. In the case of frequent encounters with any allergen, more reactions, that is, more allergic diseases, are observed. The presence of allergens in the living environment can cause more frequent and severe allergic reactions.
The rate of encountering allergens in city centers is higher than in rural areas. Allergic disease development rates vary according to lifestyle and environmental differences.
How Does Allergy Occur?
Some people's bodies react when they are exposed to certain substances (such as pollen, food, sun) by breathing, swallowing or skin contact. This substance(s) is an allergen, and the response by the body is called an allergic reaction.
In an allergic reaction, a special type of antibody called body immunoglobulin E (IgE) � He starts to teach. IgE binds to special cells in tissue and blood, especially allergen and mast cells. Histamine and many substances are released from mast cells (a cell in the human defense cell) and these substances cause allergy symptoms (such as rash, itching, runny nose) to be observed.
What are the Symptoms of Allergic Reactions?
The most common symptoms observed in allergic reactions can be listed as follows:
- Itching, watering and redness in the eyes,
- Itching, runny nose,
- Skin rashes, swellings and itching,
- Feeling tired and/or sick,
Who Has Allergic Reactions?
Why an allergic reaction develops in a person cannot be answered exactly. However, it is known that genetic and environmental factors affect the risk of developing allergy.
Allergy can occur in any age group and gender. While food allergies and allergic eczema are more prominent in the childhood age group, allergic nose and eye conjunctivitis are seen as the age progresses, and these may be accompanied by asthma. Drug allergies and occupational allergies are also more common in adulthood.
Which Are Allergic Skin Diseases?
The most common allergic skin diseases:
- Eczema (Atopic) Dermatitis): It is seen with redness, scaling, dryness and itching on the skin. Detailed information What is Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)?
- Urticaria (hives) and Angioedema: Hives, which can be seen as red and very itchy areas on the skin, can be found throughout the body as well as in the whole body. As with all allergic diseases, it is important to find the underlying triggering cause of urticaria, which is triggered by excessive stress as well as allergic infrastructure. Detailed information What is Hives (Urticaria)? You can access it at. Angioedema is a medical emergency.
- Contact dermatitis: It is an itchy dermatitis caused by substances that come into contact with the skin. Contact substances can produce two types of dermatitis: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis.
- Irritant contact dermatitis; It is a type of dermatitis that can be seen in everyone and occurs a few hours after contact, caused by irritants such as soap, detergents, solvents such as alcohol that change the pH, moisture and structural integrity of the skin. Features such as the structure, thickness, moisture, friction area of the skin in the contact area determine the effect of the contacted substance. Repeated contact (such as frequent use of soap, disinfectant) shows increasing contact effects with drying, cracking and hardening of the skin.
- Allergic contact dermatitis; It is a late-type hypersensitivity reaction that occurs within 48-96 hours of contact of previously sensitized skin with the allergen. Allergic contact dermatitis is more common in some parts of the body. Areas such as the neck, the inside of the wrist, the outer surface of the hands, and the armpits are some of the areas where allergic contact dermatitis is common. Dermatitis findings such as redness and itching following the use of wrist watch straps and hand-wrist jewelry are examples of allergic contact dermatitis.
What is Anaphylaxis?
Allergic Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that develops rapidly and can cause death.
Its symptoms are seen throughout the body. These are:
- Difficulty in breathing,
- Feeling of being stuck in the throat,
- Redness all over the body,
- Swelling and itching,
- Tingling sensation in hands, feet, lips,
- Reduction in blood pressure.
What are Allergy Tests?
In order to prevent allergies, first of all, it is necessary to clarify the cause of the allergy and reduce exposure to this allergen. For example, if a person is allergic to house dust, precautions should be taken regarding house dust in the environments where he lives and works. Allergens can be detected by blood and skin allergy tests.
Allergy tests are generally performed in allergic rhinitis-conjunctivitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, urticaria, asthma, insect stings, food and drug allergies.
Allergy tests are not tests that the patient can do alone. After the medical history and examination of the patient, it is decided and applied by physicians who are specialized in this field.
What are the Allergy Prevention and Treatment Options?
Staying away from the triggering allergen if it can be detected primarily in the management of allergic symptoms; In the second step, various systemic and topical drugs and immunotherapy are included. It is aimed to provide desensitization by giving increasing doses of allergens to which the patient is sensitive. Immunotherapy is a method that can be performed against a single antigen and takes quite a long time. Since more than one allergen plays a role in many allergic diseases, immunotherapy is not a method that can be used much today. However, it can be applied in cases such as bee venom allergy.