The meaning of the term “allergy” is altered reaction, i.e. reaction of our body to a substance in a way which is not natural or normal. Allergy is hypersensitivity disorder of our immune system. Allergic reaction occurs commonly to harmless (to majority of population) substances which are found in our natural environment in abundance, such as house dust, pollen etc. Allergen is a substance which induces allergic reaction to the individuals allergic to the allergen, but it is harmless to other individuals who are not allergic to it.
Some examples of common allergic reaction include asthma, hay fever, atopic dermatitis (commonly known as eczema), reaction to bee stings and other venomous insect stings. Many individuals are also allergic to certain types of food, known as food allergy. The most common food allergen is peanuts. Other examples of food allergens include egg, milk (cow or goat milk), prawn, shellfish, walnuts, pistachios, poppy seeds, sesame seeds etc.
What medications are available for treatment of allergy?
The groups of drugs which are used in treatment of allergy include antihistamines (examples are promethazine, pheniramine, cinnarizine, cetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine, azalastine etc.), glucocorticoids (examples are fluticasone, budesonide, prednisolone, hydrocortisone, beclomethasone etc.), leukotriene antagonists (examples are montelukast and zafirlukast), mast cell stabilizers (cromolyn sodium, ketotifen etc.), anticholinergic drugs (examples are ipratropium bromide, tiotropium bromide etc.) etc. Any of the above groups of anti-allergy medications can be used for the treatment of allergy.