Allergies

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Author: 
Editor, Focus on Adoptio magazine
Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Description

When the immune system sees a certain food or substance as harmful and reacts by triggering an allergic reaction. Common allergic *conditions include*:

  • Allergic rhinitis *hay fever*
  • Allergic asthma
  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Urticaria
  • Food allergy
  • Latex allergy
  • Insect sting *allergy*
  • Eczema

Causes
Allergy is caused by an oversensitive immune system, which leads to a misdirected immune response. The immune system normally protects the body against harmful substances, such as bacteria and viruses. In contrast, an allergic reaction is when the immune system reacts to substances (allergens) that are generally harmless and in most people do not cause an immune response.

Allergy is relatively common. Both hereditary and environmental factors have been found to play a role.

Characteristics
Varied, but may include:

  • Runny nose
  • Tearing, burning, or itching eyes
  • Red eyes, conjunctivitis
  • Swollen eyes
  • Itching nose, mouth, throat, or skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

Treatment

  • Reduced exposure to the allergen. (Total avoidance if possible.)
  • Medication if necessary

Complications

  • Discomfort during the allergic reaction
  • Disruption of lifestyle
  • Drowsiness and other effects of antihistamines
  • Side effects of other medications

This resource is by no means intended as a substitute for a doctor's advice or diagnosis. Any concerns you may have with regard to your child's health and development should be discussed with a professional in an appropriate field.

For more information about food and non-food allergies, please visit Food Allergy Canada.

If you are unsure whether you or your child have a food allergy, you can get more information through the Allergy Check website.