Allergy is a condition in which the body responds negatively to the presence of some apparently harmless objects in the surrounding environment. An allergic reaction can occur in people when they come in contact with dust, pollen grains, certain spices or even fruit or vegetables or when they take certain medications. Allergy is characterized in most cases by itching, sneezing, inflammation or certain areas, redness, etc. A typical example of a product that causes allergies is rubber latex.
One of the best known examples of allergy is asthma. Although all cases of asthma may not be an allergic response, it has been noted that almost 60% of people suffering from any form of allergy also have a tendency to develop asthma.
Although allergic symptoms can vary from person to person, many people suffer from inflammation of the eyes and nose when they have an allergic attack. Some people also experience earaches and headaches, which often represent a response to taking a drug you are allergic to.
The problem of the forced bronchus is commonly found in allergic subjects and this makes breathing difficult. Since labored breathing may also result from other respiratory problems, it must first be confirmed by tests that the problem is actually the result of an allergy. A simple and common type of allergy test is the skin puncture test which is believed to give fairly accurate results. In addition to being reliable, this test is also less expensive than a blood test.
The skin puncture test consists of pricking the skin and marking it with a special type of ink. Then any allergen is placed in the area where the punctures will allow it to enter the skin. If the individual is allergic to that object, the area will swell and turn red and itchy within half an hour. It is a confirmation of the allergy and a steroid cream is generally applied to the area to reduce itching and swelling.
An allergy blood test is performed to check the antibody content in the blood. The ELISA or EIA blood test is performed to calculate the level of the antibody called immunoglobulin E, which is generally high in the case of allergy sufferers. The human body is likely to produce too much of it when it comes in contact with an object it identifies as a foreign body.
Although there are no easy or foolproof treatments for allergy, many medications such as cortisone, epinephrine and antihistamines have been found to give substantial relief to the patient.