Allergy is an unusual and inappropriate response of the organism to various environmental factors. It manifests as a reaction to environmental factors such as pollen or dust, which are called antigens or allergens. The symptoms of an allergic reaction vary considerably in speed and intensity. Sometimes localized and general symptoms can develop so quickly that they endanger the life of the patient, which is characterized as anaphylactic shock. The tendency to allergies is also hereditary, which we call atopy. There is a much higher possibility of developing an allergic disease if both parents are atopic.
Allergic reactions are very common, and almost every person has an allergic reaction at least once in their life.
Allergies can most often be caused by: food, drugs, insect bites. In children, the most common trigger is food, and in adults, medication.
The most common allergens in the diet are: peanuts, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts), milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.
As for insect bites, in most cases there is only a local reaction in the form of redness, swelling and itching.
The fatal reaction is most often caused by insects such as bees, wasps, bumblebees, bats and hornets, where you should always be careful.
Vrlo česti alergeni su i grinje, prašina, životinjska dlaka, polen itd.
An allergic reaction can occur immediately after contact with the allergen, and can also occur after a certain time (8-12h). Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can be localized to a specific part of the body or systemic.
Different types of allergic reactions are classified according to what causes them and the part of the body that is affected. Allergic diseases are allergic rhinitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, which are especially activated at a certain season, allergic skin diseases (urticaria, atopic and contact dermatitis), allergic reactions to drugs, especially hypersensitivity to insect venom.
If the symptoms recur exclusively in certain seasons, it is seasonal allergies such as seasonal allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis that occur in spring and / or autumn. Symptoms occur and vary depending on contact with the allergen present at a given time (e.g., mites, house dust, pollen, feathers, animal hair mold).
Signs of allergic disease of the upper respiratory system are: swelling of the nasal mucosa with difficulty breathing in the nose, runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing, decreased sense of smell, itching and watery eyes, itchy palate, sore throat. Special care should be taken if swelling of the tongue or palate is observed due to the risk of airway obstruction.
The most common symptoms of allergic lower respiratory disease are: dry, irritating cough (more often at night), feeling of heaviness or pressure in the chest, feeling of difficulty breathing or choking, whistling and / or snoring when breathing, difficulty in enduring exertion. Exposure to cold air, high humidity in the air, tobacco smoke, staying in a dusty area can worsen the symptoms.
Allergic skin diseases present as a rash on the body. They often occur in infancy, as atopic dermatitis, regardless of diet, while the infant is still exclusively on breast milk diet. They are most often characterized by dryness, redness and itching of the skin on the folds of the limbs, neck and cheeks.
Urticaria (urticaria) is manifested by the appearance of urticaria (like blisters) - sharply demarcated, red, raised parts of the skin accompanied by itching. The changes occur due to swelling and redness of the surface layers of the skin, and can occur anywhere on the skin, single or multiple, once or intermittently with a certain duration (usually 2-3 days). It can also occur with certain infections, and exposure to cold, sunlight, and even some systemic or inherited diseases.
Contact allergic dermatitis occurs as a result of prolonged or repeated contact of a certain area of the skin with the allergen (washing dishes, using a certain cream on the skin of the hands, face). The skin at the site of contact is red, slightly swollen, with the possible appearance of blisters, cracks in the skin. The burning sensation and tightening of the affected part of the skin dominates. The most common allergens are nickel, chromium, cobalt, mercury compounds, formaldehyde, detergents, plastics, cosmetics, medicines (contact in working with medicines), rubber, some food products (contact - celery, parsley, paprika, fish, etc.) and wood dust, flour, animal hair.
Allergic reactions to food or medication can manifest as itching, urticaria, redness and itching around the mouth, a burning or swelling sensation of the oral mucosa, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and even suffocation. Problems occur after contact of the oral mucosa with certain foods or medications or by swallowing the above.
Allergic reactions are divided into mild and severe.
A mild allergic reaction is a hypersensitivity reaction that is limited to skin symptoms (redness, itching, localized swelling - around the eyes, or mouth, lips and tongue, eyelids ...).
A severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic reaction) is characterized by confusion, collapse, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure. Symptoms occur within a few seconds to a few minutes and require urgent medical attention.
An anaphylactic reaction is a life-threatening allergic reaction, although it often does not occur during the first contact with an allergen.
Allergic reactions similar to anaphylactic reactions, which occur after the first contact with the allergen, are called anaphylactodic reactions.
Anaphylactic reaction is a violent reaction where there is a narrowing of the airways in the lungs and "whistling" / "squeaking" when breathing, blood pressure drops sharply, the pulse is accelerated, the skin is pale. There is suffocation, with nausea, general weakness, dizziness, often diarrhea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and skin rash. Shock can develop in a few minutes, where there is a complete loss of consciousness. In this case, emergency medical care is necessary, and it is very important to alert the emergency medical service immediately upon recognizing the symptoms.
If the person is unconscious, it is necessary to secure the airway, which is achieved by placing the person in a lateral position. Such situations require the administration of adrenaline, fluid replacement, and the administration of antihistamines. Some people who are prone to allergies and such reactions have EpiPen. EpiPen is an adrenaline autoinjector and an allergist can apply a certain dose of adrenaline to himself or with the help of another person in an emergency due to contact with an allergen.
Budući da je svaka alergijska reakcija potaknuta posebnim alergenom, glavni cilj dijagnoze je pronalaženje tog alergena.Testovi mogu pomoći pri određivanju jesu li simptomi povezani s alergijom i koji je alergen odgovoran. Kožni testovi su najkorisniji za određivanje tačnih alergena.
Avoidance of allergens is cited as the most important measure in the treatment of allergic reactions. The next step in treating allergies is, of course, medication. These primarily include so-called antihistamines, drugs that successfully suppress allergy symptoms and bring relief to patients. There are several forms available in our market that effectively suppress allergy symptoms, relieve and prevent sneezing, watery eyes and cough. Drugs from this group come in the form of tablets that are usually taken once a day, although the dose can be increased if necessary. It should be emphasized that some antihistamines cause drowsiness, so after taking it, it is recommended that the person does not drive. If the symptoms of the allergy do not subside, the doctor may also recommend corticosteroids for antihistamine therapy. In case of breathing problems, inhaler pumps are also included. Drugs from this group are also numerous on the market. The indication for taking them is set by the doctor who prescribes the dose of the medicine and the time interval of taking them. For the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva) local corticosteroid drops are used, also in a certain time interval and on the recommendation of a doctor. Antihistamine-based creams / ointments may also be used for local rashes. When an insect stings, it is necessary to monitor the local reaction on the skin, in case of infection of the sting site, and the need for antibiotic therapy. In case of allergies to food or drugs, it is important to eliminate the allergen from the body, so elimination diets are introduced, along with a hygienic diet regime.
It is recommended that everyone who is at risk of an allergic reaction should wear bracelets or necklaces that provide information about their tendency to develop an allergic reaction.