Allergic Diseases


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allergic-diseasesWhat is an allergic disease?

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance or substances. The substances, called allergens, may be inhaled, swallowed, injected or contacted by the skin.

What are the most common allergic diseases?

Allergic diseases or reactions can involve any part of the body. The parts or systems most frequently involved are the respiratory system, where an allergic reaction may take the form of hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma, and the skin where a reaction can take the form of allergic dermatitis or atopic eczema, contact dermatitis (for example poison ivy) or hives (urticaria). An allergic disease may also be a factor in numerous other diseases.

Hay fever is caused by allergy to the pollen of trees, grasses, weeds or molds or any combination of these. Depending on the section of the United States and pollinating periods, it may occur in the spring, summer or fall and it may last until the first hard freeze. Hay fever sufferers may have spells of sneezing, itching, weeping eyes, runny nose and/or a burning sensation of the throat.

Allergic rhinitis is a general term that applies to anyone with nasalĀ  congestion, sneezing and a runny nose which are all caused by allergies. This may be a seasonal problem as with hay fever or it may be a year-round problem caused by other allergens such as house duct, animal dander and a host of other possibilities. Because allergic rhinitis is frequently confused with sinusitis, people with constant nasal symptoms should be evaluated for allergies.

Asthma is a condition characterized by coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties. It is frequently associated with a family history of chronic allergies. Any of the allergens mentioned above can cause an asthma attack. Chronic infections of the sinuses or bronchial tubes may also be an important factor to consider. Asthma sufferers are adversely affected by factors such as air pollutants, cigarette smoke and fumes. Asthma can begin at any age and can tend to recur and become chronic.

Allergic dermatitis or eczema is a non-contagious itchy rash that often occurs in the creases of the arms, legs and neck but can also break out anywhere. The condition is frequently associated with allergies and substances which a person is sensitive to. Foods are a common cause of this condition and usually is categorized as chronic in nature. A family history of allergy is thought to be a factor in its occurrence.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Allergic Diseases

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