Allergies in Adolescents
Allergies are reactions by one's immune system to things that are usually harmless to most people. When somebody is allergic to something the immune system of that person gets confused and thinks that the substance is detrimental to the body. The substances causing allergic reactions are known as allergens. Examples of allergens are dust, food, plant pollen, medicine etc.
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The body produces antibodies to protect itself from these allergens. The antibodies make certain cells present in the system to let chemicals mix with the bloodstream and one of them is histamine. This chemical then acts on the nose, eyes, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and results in an allergic reaction. Exposure to the same chemicals in the future triggers the same response to the antibodies again meaning every time one comes in contact with the same allergen an allergic reaction is produced in the body.
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Allergic reactions can range from mild symptoms like runny nose to more severe ones such as difficulty in breathing. Teenagers suffering from asthma often have allergic reaction to cold and getting an asthma attack is another example of allergies. Some kinds of allergies trigger multiple symptoms.
An allergic reaction in very rare cases also produces a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis; it includes difficulty breathing and swallowing, swelling of the tongue, lips and throat, and dizziness. This usually occurs as soon as the system is exposed to substances that triggers a reaction (although some reactions are delayed by as much as four hours). This is a true medical emergency and people who have ever experienced it and survived need to carry emergency medication.
One of the reasons people get allergies could be hereditary but that that does not mean that children are bound to get allergies from their parents.
Food allergies typically occur in infants and usually vanish as the child grows. The list of food allergens includes milk & dairy products, wheat, soy, eggs, peanuts, and seafood. Some people are allergic to stings and bites of certain insects. The venom in the bite is the one which actually causes reaction and can be as serious as anaphylaxis in teens.
Some teens are also allergic to airborne particles (also known as environmental allergens). They are also the most common. Examples of these allergens include dust mites, animal dander, mold spores, grass pollens, trees and ragweed.
Some adolescents are also allergic to certain antibiotic medicines.
Another common allergen is chemical; certain chemicals present in laundry detergents or cosmetics can cause rashes that are itchy in nature.
Allergists may ask questions like symptoms of the allergy and whether it is hereditary. They may also prescribe certain diagnostic tests like blood or skin test depending on the type of allergy. The best way to treat allergies is to completely avoid the substances that cause allergies (duh). Today, there are more and more medications and injections available.
Breastfeeding gives infants natural immunities from their mother; even brestfeeding for a few days is proven to be beneficial.