in Fairfax VA
An allergy is a condition where a person's immune system reacts in an exaggerated way to a normally harmless substance, such as pollen, dust, certain foods, or medications. When a person with allergies is exposed to these substances, the immune system produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals in the body. This can lead to symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itching, hives, swelling, or even anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening reaction that affects the whole body.
Allergies can be inherited, and people with family members who have allergies are more likely to develop allergies themselves. Allergies can also develop at any age, and their severity can vary widely from person to person. Allergies are typically diagnosed through a combination of a physical exam, a review of medical history, and allergy testing, which can include skin tests or blood tests. Treatment for allergies may include avoiding allergens, taking medication to control symptoms, or undergoing allergy shots (immunotherapy) to help desensitize the immune system.
The drawbacks of taking medication to control allergy symptoms include:
Side effects: Many allergy medications can cause side effects, such as headaches, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, and more.
Dependency: Some allergy medications need to be taken regularly to control symptoms, which can lead to the body becoming dependent on the medication.
Long-term use issues: Long-term use of certain allergy medications may lead to health issues, such as osteoporosis, glaucoma, and more.
Not suitable for everyone: Some people may be allergic to or intolerant of certain allergy medications, which can lead to more severe allergic reactions.
Masking of symptoms: Allergy medications can help alleviate symptoms, but they cannot cure allergies themselves. While controlling symptoms over the long term, underlying health issues may be masked.
Drug interactions: Certain allergy medications may interact with other medications, which can affect the efficacy of other drugs or increase the risk of drug interactions.