So much is heard about more and more allergies. What is that?
According to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology about intolerance (or allergy), we say when our body reacts improperly in contact with a factor that (in a normal dose) tolerates healthy people. Our immune system may be involved in an abnormal reaction, which a certain component of our food begins to treat as a pathogen, i.e. a threatening particle. Another type of intolerance is non-immune intolerance, usually caused by the lack of an enzyme digesting a given food substance.
How is it that an allergic reaction occurs?
In immunological allergy everything begins, from hyperactivity of the immune system. The body of the allergy produces too much antibodies, whose task is to defend the body against external threats. In a healthy organism, when antibodies encounter a pathogen, they attach themselves to its surface, marking it and somehow demonstrating to the immune cells that it should be destroyed. In the body, allergy antibodies are produced in too large quantities, and their excess causes them to start marking healthy cells, as a result of which the immune system destroys its own tissues. This affects, among others, the walls of the intestine, which is a natural barrier, separating the sterile interior of the body from the intestinal content. The intestine becomes permeable to bacteria, viruses, but also to undigested food residues that can penetrate the blood, and with it to various organs, also to the brain. Although they are generally not dangerous in themselves, their unusual location makes the immune system treat them as a threat and tries to fight them. It is through the immune defenses of the immune system that the allergy suffers from uncomfortable ailments that occur at different times after contact with the allergen, such as fatigue, rash, diarrhea, etc. In the case of non-immunological intolerance, an allergic reaction arises when an allergen enters the digestive system. Due to the lack of a suitable enzyme, it remains undigested, irritating the intestinal walls and causing, for example, diarrhea.
What can be an allergen?
The immune response can be caused by literally everything. All people allergic to pollen from various plants, animal dander, dust or mites are reported to allergy clinics. Often, allergens are substances found in foods, lactose, gluten and even alcohol. Then it is necessary to exclude these substances from the diet. Unfortunately, it is more and more often the case that several different allergies are detected in a given person.
What symptoms of allergic reactions can be?
Contact allergic with allergen can cause a whole range of different symptoms. They are not specific and it often happens that doctors can not properly diagnose a patient who is reporting to them. Food intolerance may be associated with digestive disorders, resulting in abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. There are also skin problems, urticaria, atopic dermatitis. The least specific symptoms are headache, fatigue. Diagnosis of allergies is very difficult because there are no reliable confirmation tests.
How fast can the symptoms of allergic reactions appear?
The time after which an allergic reaction occurs depends on the type of intolerance. It happens that the allergic reaction occurs quickly, up to twenty minutes after contact with the pathogen, we are talking about type I intolerance, at which the reaction of the immune system is called anaphylactic. It mainly covers the skin, conjunctiva, upper and lower respiratory tract or mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. Allergens are rarely substances found in food, most often pollen, insect venoms, drugs or vaccines. Because the reaction occurs quickly, in the case of allergic contact with an allergen it is difficult to stop it or provide him with professional medical help, which may end tragically. Therefore, people suffering from this type of allergy should always have medication in case of an allergic reaction, e.g. adrenaline.
Sometimes, however, the inflammation activates only a few hours after contact with the allergen. We are talking about type III intolerance. Such a reaction is very common in food allergy, after eating a product for which we are allergic.
There are also allergic reactions occurring after a few days of contact with the allergen. However, these are rare cases.