What Are Allergies?
Allergies are typically defined as any unusual reaction to normally harmless substances that contact the body surfaces. These surfaces include the eyes, nose, lungs, stomach and skin. Allergies reflect an overreaction of the immune system to certain substances, which can cause sneezing, wheezing, coughing and itching.
One of the most common allergies today is to peanuts. AAFA-CA is happy to provide additional resources for information to help sufferers of asthma and allergies, and one of our respected resources is PeanutAllergy.com.
PeanutAllergy.com is the Internet’s #1 peanut allergy resource. Their goal is to bring people together around nut allergy issues by providing concise, up-to-date information and a meeting place for concerned parents and others with nut allergies. Visit PeanutAllergy.com for forums, news, support, tips and more. Contact Rachel Bullock at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Some of the most common forms of allergic diseases are:
- Allergic Rhinitis (hay fever) - Nasal stuffiness and itching, sneezing and clear nasal discharge are common characteristics. It is an inflammation of the mucus membranes in the nose, throat, sinuses, and/or ear passages which occurs when you inhale an allergen.
- Allergic Asthma - Characterized by airway obstruction that is at least partially reversible with medication and is always associated with allergy. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, chest tightness, and slight chest pain.
- Eye Allergy- inflammation of the eyes. Symptoms can include itchy, watery eyes, and lid distress.
- Hives- characterized by the development of itchy raised white bumps on the skin surrounded by an area of red inflammation.
- Sinusitis- inflammation of the sinuses. Symptoms include frontal head discomfort, facial pain that often worsen when patients are bending or straining, and yellow or green discharge.
- Food Allergy- broad range of allergic reactions including itching or swelling of lips or tongue. For more information on food allergies contact the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network
- Skin Allergies – Atopic Dermatitis (eczema) - a chronic or recurrent inflammatory skin disease characterized by lesions, scaling, and flaking. Contact Dermatitis - characterized by skin inflammation. It results from direct contact with an outside substance. For more information on skin allergies contact the American Academy of Dermatology (On the home page click on Public Resource Center, Dermatology A to Z.)
- Latex Allergy - allergic response to proteins in natural latex rubber. Symptoms include hand dermatitis, eczema, hives, sneezing, coughing and shortness of breath. For more information on latex allergy go to Center for Disease Control & Prevention, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and on the home page Site Index, click on the letter “L.”
- Insect Sting Allergy - allergic reaction to bees, hornets, wasps, yellowjackets, and fire and harvest ants. Symptoms include pain, itching and swelling at the sting site or over a larger area, and can cause anaphylaxis.
- Medication Allergy - allergic reaction to drugs, characterized by variety of allergic responses.
- Anaphylaxis - life threatening reaction to food, medications, and insect stings. This is the most severe form of allergic reactions which is a medical emergency.