Allergy is a condition wherein the body responds negatively to the presence of certain apparently harmless objects in the surroundings. An allergic reaction can occur in people when they come into contact with dust, pollen grains, certain spices or even fruits or vegetables, or when they take some drugs. Allergy is characterized in most instances by itchiness, sneezing, infection or certain areas, redness, etc. A typical example of an allergy causing product is the rubber latex.
One of the better known examples of allergy is asthma. Although all cases of asthma may not be allergic allergic, it has been noticed that nearly 60% of people who suffer from any form of allergy also have the tendency to develop asthma.
Although allergy symptoms may vary from person to person, many people suffer from inflamed eyes and nose when they have an allergy attack. Earache and headache are also seen in some people and the latter is often a response to taking a drug to which one is allergic.
The problem of constricted bronchia is commonly seen in allergy sufferers and this makes their breathing labored. Since labored breathing could result from other respiratory problems as well, it has to be first of all confirmed by tests that the problem is indeed the result of an allergy. An easy and common type of allergy test is the skin prick test which is believed to give fairly accurate results. Besides being reliable, this test is less expensive than a blood test as well.
The skin prick test consists of pricking the skin and marking it with a special type of ink. Then the possible allergen is placed on the pricked area where the pricks will allow it to enter the skin. If the individual is allergic to that object, the area will swell up and turn red and itchy within half an hour. It is a confirmation of allergy and generally a steroid cream is applied in the area to reduce the itching and swelling.
An allergy blood test is done to check the antibody content in the blood. The ELISA or EIA blood test is done to calculate the level of the antibody called immunoglobulin E, which is generally high in the case of those suffering from an allergy. The human body is likely to produce too much of these when it comes into contact with an object that it identifies as a foreign body.
Although there are no easy or foolproof treatments for allergy, many drugs like cortisone, epinephrine, and antihistamines have been found to give the patient substantial relief.