Common allergies explained

Allergies results in a weakening of the immune system, owing to exposure to usually harmless environmental substances like dust or moisture. The carriers of allergens (the substance that causes allergy) can occur in many other forms, mostly environmental.

People with asthma are more likely to suffer from severe allergies. Allergies can affect different parts of the body and some of the symptoms can include:

• Nose – allergic rhinitis, or increase in nasal mucus
• Eyes – conjunctivitis, redness and itching
• Ears – impaired hearing, possible pain, a feeling of heaviness
• Skin – rashes, hives

The main causes of allergies are divided into two categories – host factors and environmental factors. Host factors include heredity, race, age and gender. The main environmental causes of allergies are pollution levels, dietary changes and exposure to infectious diseases in early childhood. Limited exposure to urban pollution or contamination, especially in childhood, along with good dietary habits can lower the effects of an environmental allergy.


The medications used for treating allergic reactions are:

Administered orally or via a nasal spray and used mainly to unblock nasal passages. Brand names of decongestant products include Afrin and Vicks Sinex.

Prescribed steroid nasal sprays
These are meant to subdue inflammatory reactions using drugs such as Nasonex, Flonase, Nasocort or Beconase.

This category of medication cuts down the action of allergens classified as histamines largely responsible for allergic symptoms. Antithistamines are approved for medical treatment but need to be approved by a doctor for use on children. These drugs can cause moderate drowsiness.

Compress and lotion treatments
Used for skin allergies.

Hilary helps with common forms of allergy such as hay fever.