A body reacting to allergens happens when the immune system identifies substances that are usually not harmful and creates antibodies to fight them.
Allergic Reaction Details
A body's immune system defends the body's organs and systems against infections caused by bacteria and viruses. On occasion, the immune system reacts to allergens that generally do not cause harm or interfere with the body's functionality. Allergens can be inhaled, touched, or eaten. Allergens come in the form of foods, medication, or environmental changes.
Example of an Allergic Reaction
Alex works at company X, and he has alpha-gal syndrome, which is an allergy to red meat. He develops red spots on his skin surface, hives, itching, and scaly skin whenever he eats red meat. The best thing for Alex to do is to avoid red meat altogether.
Alex and other allergic employees in company X are entitled to a reasonable accommodation for any allergy they're suffering from. Company X ought to create a safe and healthy environment for its employees. Employees with allergies such as Alex are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They can work from home if the risk of exposure is too high at the workplace.
If Alex comes into contact with an allergen at his workplace that threatens his health, he has the right to stop work and leave his workplace without fear of retribution.
Types of Allergic Reactions
- Drug Allergies – These are abnormal reactions by the body to medications. Symptoms include swelling of the face, wheezing, or anaphylaxis in severe cases.
- Food Allergies: This is when the body's immune system reacts abnormally to foodstuffs after eating. The best preventive measure towards this type of allergy is avoiding food substances/allergens.
- Contact Dermatitis/Contact Eczema – This is an allergy type associated with an itchy rash on the skin when a person comes into contact with an allergen.
- Allergic Asthma – This type of allergy makes a person asthmatic when they come into contact or get exposed to an allergen.
- Latex Allergy – This is an allergy to natural rubber latex proteins. Natural rubber latex includes gloves, condoms, and balloons.
- Pet Allergy – This is the abnormal reaction towards proteins found in animals' saliva, skin cells, or urine
- Allergy to Pollens and Molds – This is the abnormal immune system reaction towards mold spores and pollens. This is the most common type of allergy, known as seasonal allergies.
- Anaphylaxis – This is an allergic reaction that occurs seconds after exposure and may be fatal if not attended to since it leads to loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, or respiratory difficulty.
History of Allergic Reactions
The discovery of allergies dates to over 150 years ago, but still, medical researchers have been unable to develop a cure for allergies. Historical documents prove that allergic reactions are not new. Scientific progress in the study of allergic reactions began in 1819 when Dr. John Bostock described hay fever. Even so, there was no development of effective treatment options for the condition.
In 1869, the first-ever skin test for allergies was conducted by a scientist who placed pollen into a small skin cut and waited for a reaction. Great advances in immunology led to the development of immunotherapy in the early 1900s. Immunotherapy led to the production of effective antihistamines that helped the human body respond better to allergic reactions.
Doctors first administered steroid corticosteroids to treat asthma and allergic reactions in 1948. By the 1950s, research had made progress with the discovery of mast cells that helped identify the cause of allergic reactions. Modern-day medical research has led to various treatment options to minimize allergic reactions, but there's no cure yet, only treatment.