Allergy involves an exaggerated response of the immune system, often to common substances such as foods or pollen. Allergens are substances that are foreign to the body and that cause an allergic reaction. Although many individuals outgrow allergies over time, allergies can also develop at any age, including during adulthood. While the environment plays a role in the development of allergy, there is a greater risk of developing allergic conditions if a person has a family history of allergy, especially in parents or siblings.
People who are atopic are more likely to develop allergies, because their body produces more IgE antibodies than is normal. Environmental factors also play a part in the development of allergic disorders. The exact role of the environment is unknown, but studies have shown that several factors seem to increase the chance of a child developing atopy, such as growing up in a house with smokers, exposure to house dust mites, pets, using antibiotics. Preventing allergic reactions depends on the type of allergy.
Effective treatment of allergic asthma includes identifying and avoiding allergens that trigger symptoms, using drug therapies and developing an emergency action plan for severe attacks. There are many medicines that can help control allergy symptoms.Decongestants and antihistamines are the most common allergy medications. They help to reduce a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing and itching. Other medications work by preventing the release of the chemicals that cause allergic reactions.