Allergy is defined as an abnormally high sensitivity to certain substances such as pollen, foods, or microorganisms. Symptoms can range from mild eye irritation and congestion to a more severe reaction causing swelling and difficulty breathing. Some of the more common allergy conditions are described below.
Commonly called “hay fever,” allergic rhinitis is an irritation of the nose, where the inside of the nose becomes inflamed after being exposed to an allergic trigger. Symptoms include nasal congestion, running nose, sneezing, itching, and/or watery eyes. Allergic rhinitis may be associated with sinusitis. Diagnostic evaluation is aimed at identifying (and often eliminating) the cause of allergy. Symptoms are controlled with topical and systemic medications, and in some cases, allergy injections may be helpful.
Eczema is a term used to describe a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema. Atopic refers to a group of diseases with an often inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever. Symptoms include red, dry, scaly skin accompanied with itchiness.
Asthma is a chronic condition of the airways in the lungs. In asthma, the bronchial tubes become narrowed and inflamed, making it difficult to move air into and out of the lungs. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and overproduction of mucus.
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