From sniffles and sneezes to more severe reactions, there is barely a family that has not been impacted by allergies in one form or another. As explained to Cairo West Magazine by Dr. Mohamed Magdy from Revive Medical, an allergy is a manifestation of your over active immune system response. Allergies may crop up in different organs as an eye allergy, a nasal allergy, a respiratory allergy, a skin allergy or a gastrointestinal allergy. There is a broad spectrum involved, ranging from a simple sensitivity to a more severe intolerance according to personal susceptibility.
Allergies and the Body
Body functions affected by allergies can be classified according to the affected organ e.g. lungs, nasal sinus, eyes, gastrointestinal and skin. Allergies can vary from just a mild form such as intolerance to moderate hypersensitive response, although rarely there may be a severe form of atopy, which is a life-threatening condition. The aetiology (set of causations) of an allergic response can have genetic and environmental factors.
Allergies can emerge at any age but are usually apparent between the ages of 5 to 16 years. Although an allergy usually develops at an early stage of life, it can tend to come and go, even to the extent of disappearing for decades and then cropping up again later in life. So it is a chronic condition that needs monitoring to control its symptoms and prevent its exacerbation.
An allergy tends to come in exacerbations and remissions as long as you become exposed to the allergic substance that induces it and it will decrease as long as you are away from this allergen. But the immune system is still sensitive to that allergen and the reaction may happen whenever the person is exposed to that allergen.
Fortunately, allergies can be controlled and sometimes reversed depending on the degree of severity. The most sensitive method of treatment is the elimination and re-introduction diet, if we are talking about food triggers. There are antibody blood and skin tests, they are not always sensitive or specific but could be helpful in extreme forms of autoimmune reactions like anaphylaxis.
There are various tests that can be carried out according to the type of allergy. If we are dealing with a food allergy for example; the elimination and reintroduction diet is very effective but needs the patient’s cooperation and compliance. It entails stopping the consumption of many types of food for an elimination period, then reintroducing these food items again one at a time and observing the response of the body. In terms of alleviating the symptoms of common allergies, while there are no obvious contraindications for long term use of antihistamines like Zyrtec or Telfast, they do come with some side effects such as drowsiness and headache.
At Revive, we follow an integrative medical approach, whereby we try to get a picture of the types of allergies and their reflection on the blood panel and symptoms. We also take a thorough history of family health predispositions, occupation of the patients, diet, stress, environment and an overall life style to check all the factors that might affect the patient and cause the allergies.
In many instances, stress in the form of emotional, physical or mental can actually affect the immune system in a negative way. This leads to its over activation and manifesting in different types of autoimmune diseases like allergies. Stress management is vital where there is a risk of allergies. It should be noted that a lot of the allergy triggers are environmental in nature, like pollens, dust and mites.
Address: 33B Abu El Feda St. Zamalek