Allergy & Types
Allergy is defined as an abnormal reaction of the body to a previously encountered allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, injection, or skin contact.
Often manifested by itchy eyes, runny nose, wheezing, skin rash or vomiting. Examples include allergy to pollen, foods and drugs. Occasionally the reaction can be severe and life threatening. This is termed anaphylaxis. Allergies appear in people with genetic susceptibility.
Not all allergic looking reactions are true allergies! Many food reactions are simple food intolerances that are not associated with serious symptoms or not necessarily associated with nutritional deficiencies. An example of this is lactose intolerance; this can be mistaken as milk protein allergy because the symptoms are similar. Celiac disease is another example where there is intolerance to gluten but it’s not a true allergy. Usually these reactions are related to an enzymatic deficiency, such as lactase, or chemical composition or concentration of the item. This is different from true allergy where the reactions, although similar, are caused by a specific IgE antibody against the protein in the foods or other components.
Some allergic reactions are only local and almost never become systemic. In this case the individual experiences only mouth symptoms to raw fruits or vegetables but not cooked ones! This is because the protein is heat sensitive. This type of reaction occurs in individuals with pollen allergy due to similarity of the pollen protein and the specific foods. Examples of associations are reactions to apple, carrot, peach, plum, cherry, pear, almond, hazelnut in Birch allergic patients, reaction to tomato in the grass allergic, and reactions to melons, zucchini, cucumber, kiwi or banana in ragweed allergic patients.
Other medical problems can have serious complications and give some symptoms of allergy. One example is Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE or EoE). Here the Eosinophils, which are a type of white blood cell, increase in the esophagus. Eosinophilic esophagitis can get worse by food allergy. Other conditions such as immunodeficiency and cystic fibrosis can give a picture of asthma.
It is necessary to differentiate the allergy from other reactions. Through the specialist opinion and doing investigations we are able to provide the proper recommendation and treatment.