Affected Anatomy: Immune system
Allergic responses or reactions by the immune system are caused when an individual who is sensitive to a specific substance comes in contact with that substance. Some individuals have food or drug allergies while others might be allergic to specific animals or insect bites. Environmental factors like pollens, dust mites, fungus and bold might also trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals. In addition, asthma is a disease process of the airways in which individuals who suffer from the disease have difficulty breathing after exposure to environmental factors, allergens or any other identifiable triggers that result in an asthma attack. An asthma attack is characterized by inflammation of the airways that results in narrowing of the air passages and less delivery of inspired oxygen to the lungs. Normally the immune system reacts in a deliberate way when it recognizes substance that are different then self. In some instances the immune system responds in an exaggerated manner that results in inflammation, and release of substances like histamine that lead to increased inflammation and other symptoms.
Symptoms of Allergies, Asthma, Immunity
Signs and symptoms of an allergy differ from those of asthma. Allergies that result in a localized response cause redness, warmth, itching and possible hives (localized skin reaction) in and around the affected area. More systemic reactions lead to severe generalized itching, increase in temperature, and widespread inflammation. In extreme cases, respiratory difficulties and problems with blood pressure can occur. In individuals with asthma, exposure to an allergen or known trigger can cause inflammation of the airway leading to shortness of breath, chest tightness, anxiety, feelings of suffocation, coughing, and increased heart rate.
Treating Allergies, Asthma, Immunity or Treatment of Allergies, Asthma, Immunity
The treatment of allergies and immune responses depend on the severity of the reaction and the symptoms the individual is exhibiting. Most localized reactions can be treated with cool compress, and possibly a cream if rash is present. More systemic reactions are usually treated with Benadryl type medications (antihistamines) to control inflammation and itching. A steroid may be added in the case of a more severe reaction. Rarely, severe reactions may require hospitalization for blood pressure and respiratory support. Individuals who suffer from asthma usually carry a rescue inhaler that can be used during an attack to help open the inflamed airways and improve oxygen delivery to the lungs. During the winter months, some individuals with asthma may require breathing treatments to help with inflammation and to prevent attacks. Severe asthma attacks require hospitalization to ensure proper treatment. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is being used as an effective therapy in the treatment in allergies and in individuals who suffer from asthma. HBOT provides oxygen in higher than normal levels for optimal functioning at the cellular level. The high levels of oxygen provided with each treatment reduces the inflammatory process for allergy and asthma sufferers allowing the body to heal itself. In addition, sufferers of seasonal allergies can enjoy life during months with high pollen counts by controlling the inflammation of their nasal passages and airways with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.