A Pain in the Autoimmune System by Jonathan Vielma
Allergy season applies even to fall. Ragweed pollen, mold, and dust mites are the biggest allergens of autumn. According to WebMD.com, almost one out of every five Americans suffer from allergies and about three-quarters of people who are allergic to spring plants are also allergic to the autumn ragweed.
An allergic reaction is caused by an overreaction of the autoimmune system. When the allergen enters our immune system, our body naturally fights it off thinking it is being invaded by a harmful entity. An allergic reaction can be described as an exaggerated protection mechanism often in overdrive. An extreme allergic reaction can cause a shutdown and possible swelling of vital passageways for oxygen to enter our body. A non-emergent allergy reaction causes variety of symptoms which are annoying and/or sometimes restricting to normal life routines. Allergy attacks can also lead to reoccurring and frequent illnesses.
The following list reflects the most common symptoms of allergies according to Allervision:
- Runny or congested nose
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Frequent ear infections
- Sinus headaches
- Nasal polyps
- Conjunctivitis (eye irritation)
- Muscle/joint pain
- Skin rashes and eczema
- Mental problems such as confusion, slow thinking, depression and forgetfulness
- Respiratory effects including endless colds, chronic cough, recurrent bronchitis
Allergy tests identify the triggers which cause an allergic reaction. Once the allergens are identified, one many choose to take a proactive or reactive course of treatment. Immunotherapy is a proactive method requiring a regimen of oral drops or subcutaneous shots to build up a tolerance for specific allergens. Allergens are introduced slowly in small doses allowing the body to adapt and build up a resistance toward the allergens. General over-the-counter and prescription based medications for allergies offer a reactive approach to maintain and control allergies. If you have any questions or concerns about allergies it is always best to speak with a physician.