Allergy Types, Causes and Ayurvedic Treatments

Ayurvedic Treatments for allergy are the most sought after allergy treatments. Allergy is a hypersensitive reaction triggered by the immune system. It arises in response to harmless substances present around us. Lots of allergies exist from water, dust, air, and food too. Ayurvedic treatments for allergies will help identify allergy causes and correct the imbalanced doshas in the body. Ayurvedic medicines will also help in preventing the reoccurrence of allergies. In chronic cases of allergy, one may need detoxification to remove the toxins, which are the primary reasons for allergies.

Prevalence of Allergies in our country:

Allergy Types, Causes and Ayurvedic Treatments 

We shall discuss some of the common allergies in our country. Bronchial asthma, ocular allergy, dust allergy, food allergies because of certain foods, insect bites, and stings are the few common allergies seen commonly. Approximately 33 percent of Indians suffer at least one allergy in their lifetime. They may develop at any point in life. But they tend to appear in early life and become severe later on in life. Out of all the allergies, 15 percent of Indians fall into and develop asthma. 1/3rd of Indians show symptoms of allergies but do not get provided adequate treatment. Allergy vaccines are given to less than 2000 people. 

The fact that most of the people are keeping important allergies to be treated backseat is because of a lack of proper awareness about it. 

In our country, there is no proper exposure or training about allergy diseases. Some of these allergies are Rhinitis, which is so severe and so common that many employees are seen taking a long week of break from work.

Be it an allergy or disease, it is considered a minor illness that fades on its own in our country. Though the allergy vaccines can promote relief for six months, they are not thoroughly validated. Talking about allergic rhinitis, there is a 30percent chance for it to develop into asthma. Asthma itself is a complicated and chronic lung disease. This demands hospitalization alongside regular treatment. Allergies can go into life-threatening diseases. Another problem with the health care system in our country is there are no allergy specialists in India. Ninety percent of the patients have prescribed drugs to treat wheezing.

And Allergies are capable of life-threatening reactions and developing into diseases. Being the most incurable and common conditions, they are not confined to some geographical area but seen worldwide. Some geographical and environmental factors also cause certain allergies.

What happens in an Allergy:

An allergy starts in the immune system. Our immune system reacts to the allergens considering them as foreign bodies in general. But in the case of allergies, an immune system mistakes harmless substances to the allergen and overreacts. This raises the levels of antibodies in the body. Histamine and other chemicals released by cells also react with these antibodies, causing an allergic reaction. There had been several reasons put forth to explain the occurrence of allergies. 

One first can be said as our lifestyle. We are habituated to live in a sterile and too protective environment. This makes us live away from enough pathogens to keep the immune system going. Hence we are not exposed to all these pathogens at optimal levels. The immune system starts to attack even harmless agents that it comes across. It makes them as allergens and foreign bodies to the immune system and will just trigger the allergic reactions. This is why the people living in underdeveloped countries and unhygienic places have lesser common allergies than the rapidly increasing industrial countries. “ The more hygiene and cleaner the country is, the more allergy-prone the country can be,” a study stated along before.

The second study has proved that infants who are given antibiotics in the first year of life are at higher risk of developing chronic allergies like asthma later on in their lives. 

Next comes the hygiene hypothesis. It explained the fact that the children living in a large or joint family with more siblings are less prone to any allergies than the child in small families. The impact of symbiotic bacteria and parasites has also been included in the theory. Higher industrialization, sophisticated lifestyles, and antibiotic intake being regular leads to sensitivity in the body.

Types of Allergies:

 There are 14 prominent types of allergies complained about vastly. In the rapidly growing world, 20 percent of them suffer allergic rhinitis. 

Food Allergies:

Food Allergies

Food allergens result in food allergies.  Symptoms of food allergies include itching, swelling of the tongue, drop in blood pressure, breathing difficulties, diarrhea, vomiting. 

The severity of these symptoms is called anaphylaxis. The common allergies in our country are cows milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, banana, food addicts, pulses, cereals, black gram, milk protein allergies are commonest.

An allergy that develops after eating certain foods is called a food allergy. The slightest amount of such allergy foods can develop into potent allergy. Food allergies affect the mouth to the digestive system. There is no age bar for food allergy. And also, food allergy is different from food poisoning or food intolerance. 

Food allergy is a reaction against the allergy-causing foods by the immune system. Food intolerance is a lesser serious condition that does not involve the immune system. It is just a reaction to the food consumed. Children below three years have a lot of food allergies in general.

Only 3 percent of adults are seen as suffering from the disease. There is no potent care for the food allergy.

Children gradually outgrow their allergy with age as they develop into adults. Food allergies result in some serious risks like asthma. Asthma and food allergy come together. They both together make the symptoms severe. The age factor also adds to the frequencies of allergies. As the immune system develops with age, the immunity against allergies is cultivated. However, all the allergies do not go away. Most of the children outgrow allergies against milk, wheat, soy, and eggs. Allergies to nuts, fish, and other allergies may remain for a lifetime. Being allergic to one food also triggers sensitivity to other foods.

A person with a food allergy can develop other food allergies easily. A family history that is in genes, if a person holds a food allergy, can increase the risk of asthma, hay fevers, and food allergies in the descendants. Food allergy symptoms if severe, can end up in anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Food allergy also causes a stern reaction, such as atopic dermatitis. Early detection of allergens can help in being protective. Some are given epinephrine and some in rare cases use the benefits of allergen immunotherapy. Most of the allergies develop at an early age; some develop in later life. Children are prone to allergies as said, and next comes the women in terms of susceptibility. 

Diagnosis of a food allergy:

When taken to a doctor, the doctor questions the medical history and checks for an elimination diet. Elimination diet checks for the food that is causing adverse effects. Small effects or intermediate allergens are checked for by skin prick tests.

Later on, the presence of antibodies is listed by Sample testing. At the same time, delayed reactions are tested by patch testing on the skin. RAST, a radio allergic sorbent testing, detects the IgE antibodies. It tests many allergens at once. Though there is no one specific treatment available for food allergy, epinephrine, antihistamines, and steroids are used to chill out the immune system cells.

Drug allergy:

Some people have a drug allergy, they develop an allergic reaction to certain medications or a drug. Immediate medical assistance should be given for this type of allergies. Although a first-time reaction is not possible for any drug, due to different substances present in it, a lot of reactions can happen. Medications containing antibodies, painkillers, NSAIDS, antibiotics, antiepileptics, antiretroviral and local aesthetics can develop into allergy in general.

Symptoms of Drug Allergy

 Symptoms include swelling in the face, rashes on the skin, itching, breathlessness, lung damage and fatigue, syncope and sometimes anaphylactic, hives, etc. A drug allergy more likely develops with more dosage and more exposure. Immediate reactions are caused by IgE antibodies and delayed reactions are carried by T cell response by the immune system.

Insect Stings Allergy:

Insect Stings Allergy

The immune system reacts to the insect bites and strings by an allergic reaction. The venom stung into the victim while biting insects releases anticoagulants into the blood. There are two different reactions to an insect sting and sensitization and an allergic reaction. Sensitization is a result of IgE antibodies formation in response to the sting or in-vitro assay. An allergic reaction happens after one or more stings. 

The allergy is developed in the form of a swelling, which is limited and goes after a couple of days. An immediate allergy that shows a greater swelling for more than 3 to 4 days may lead to serious problems if stung near airways. Whereas an immediate reaction appears up to 2 hrs after the stung. It is dangerous if it does not subside within three days or more. 

Signs and Symptoms of Insect Sting Allergy:

Signs of this kind of allergy are the redness and itchiness in the skin, swelling in the infected area, intense diarrhea, nausea, vomitings, dizziness, bowel and stomach issues, skin rashes, drop in blood pressure, unconsciousness, and also sometimes cardiac arrests. The major complications may end up in death sometimes. About 2 percent of all allergies are mild and show many signs than skin allergy.

 Wheezing, trouble in breathing, anxiety, restlessness, rapid pulse, etc. are seen alongside. The sting is usually removed within 30 secs to avoid further infection. 

Diagnosis of Insect Sting Allergy:

Diagnosis procedures start with clear information of the bee or wasp bite, place of a sting in detail. Skin tests and blood tests are done if there are symptoms other than skin rashes or swelling. The intradermal skin test is a precise test than the skin prick test. A little venom is introduced slightly under the skin for allergy. This is done to test for allergic reactions. Within 15mins, the reactions develop. If both the intradermal test and skin prick test negative, then a blood test is done further. 

Treatment for Insect bite Allergy: 

The first aid is given at the site immediately before the doctor. Painkillers are given to reduce the pain due to inflammation. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age. Antihistamines, hydrocortisone cream, or lotions are given for topical application. An ice press is used around the swelling and to relieve the inflammation. Epinephrine auto-injector is considered depending on the severity. Long term treatments include immunotherapy.

Drug Allergy:

Drug Allergy

An allergy is a form of adverse drug reaction. The adverse drug reaction is any injury occurring at the time of any drug intake or slightly after the administration of the drug. The immune system identifies drugs as invaders and programs antibodies against them.

The drug reaction may occur immediately or with a delay. However, the reactions of certain drugs are predictable such as bleeding while administration of anticoagulants or while using drugs of low therapeutic values. The reactions to the drugs can be predictable. However, changes in the dosages can welcome unwanted reactions. 

Drugs may contain many substances that can result in allergic reactions. The dyes used in the drugs also result in allergy. The red dye used in drugs usually leads to allergies. A drug allergy is different from a drug reaction. The side effects are different from drug allergies.

Chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, pain killers, and antihistamines result in common drug allergies. Some of the side effects of the drugs are not harmful and rather useful for the body but a drug allergy always has a negative role to do on our body. Anaphylaxis is one such fatal reaction. And at times, some drugs show reactions without allergy called -allergic drug reactions. This means they are not associated with any reactions of the immune system. 

Diagnosis of Drug Allergies:

Diagnosing drug allergies can be a difficult task. To conclude an allergy as caused by a drug, there should be clear and close observation. A clear examination of the drug suspected, the time and dosage are taken, also if the reaction is delayed or immediate and pattern of reactions by the body, etc. is made. A skin test and sometimes a blood test are done after an allergy is concluded. 

Treatment for Drug Allergy:

A drug desensitization procedure is prescribed for certain patients who need to use the drug long term. However, it has some potential side effects, which are why it is done in medical assistance. Treating with antihistamines counteracts on the reactions produced against histamines by the immune system. Corticosteroids are utilized to reduce the swellings and inflammations, and bronchodilators to ease the wheezing and respiratory issues.

Asthma:

Ayurvedic Treatment and Medicine for Asthma

It is the most common allergy in the Indian population, with at least 15 percent developing it in their lifetime. Though it is established as caused by allergens, environmental and hereditary factors also sum it up. Some common allergens can be listed as dust, smoke, low-quality air, dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, fur, etc., and living in poor environmental areas cause asthma.

Rhinitis and eczema, along with asthma, are called atopy. However, the exact cause can be told as a combination of both genetic and environmental issues. In some patients, it becomes a chronic issue, whereas in some, it is just a minor ailment.

Based on the severity of the disease, there are types of asthma. 

  1. Adult-Onset Asthma
  2. Allergic Asthma
  3. Asthma-COPD Overlap
  4. Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction (EIB)
  5. Nonallergic Asthma
  6. Occupational Asthma

Childhood asthma is seen in kids and also in infants, but not so easy to diagnose. There is this exercise-induced asthma that is seen while the kids are playing or sporting. Wheezing while breathing, coughing, fast breathing, difficulty in breathing, weakness, decrease in the energy, facing fatigue, etc. are the signs of asthma in children.

There is no cure for childhood asthma, but the right treatment and precautions can help to keep it in control. In our country, most of the neonates show asthma and pneumonia as part of respiratory diseases. 

Causes of Asthma :

The causes may be allergies, the inheritance of allergies, low birth weight, frequent respiratory infections, low immunity, and deficiency of nutrition. Some develop asthma as an allergic reaction to the substances they get exposed to. In a line, it is caused by the particles, gases, dust, smoke, chaff, animal flour, latex, fur, residues they get exposed to daily. This type of asthma is called occupational asthma, which is caused by the long exposure to allergens at the workplace. Hydrochloric acid, wood chaff, paints, petrol and chemical industries, ammonia, etc. are a few allergic substances responsible. 

Symptoms and Signs of Asthma:

Signs and symptoms of asthma

There will be symptoms like wheezing, breathing difficulties, etc. only when you are being subjected to the allergens and settled down in the absence. It may be the first time that you have asthma symptoms or it may be a relapse of childhood asthma. If you already have asthma, it may get worse and is called work exacerbated asthma. 

Seeing an allergist or an immunologists will help to treat occupational asthma. 

Asthma is a condition in which the airways of the lungs get inflamed, this causes difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing, tightness of chest, and shortness of breath. These episodes occur a few times a day if it is severe or a few times per week. Depending on the person, asthma can be worse at night. Caused either by genetics or by allergens, there is no cure for asthma. Eosinophils count rises in the blood during asthma. Cold air, early mornings, exercises worse asthma. There are certain complications asthma brings along with it. Rhinitis, eczema, and asthma together are called atopy. Asthma is also associated with autoimmune diseases, obesity, respiratory functions, gastroesophageal reflux disease, sleep apnea, anxiety, and other psychological problems that are associated with asthma. 

Diagnosis of Asthma:

Diagnosis of asthma is not so easy, by far, there is no precise test for the diagnosis. Based on the symptoms and responses tracked over time, asthma is suspected. Spirometry is the best test for asthma. It is usually performed every one or two years to follow how well a person’s asthma is controlled. 

Asthma Treatment:

Medications for asthma can be fast-acting and long term. Anticholinergic medications salbutamol, epinephrine, and corticosteroids are given as fast-acting first-line treatments for asthma. Long term medications available for asthma include bethlometazln, salmeterol, and Pharmacol in inhaled forms. Intravenous injections include aminophylline. For children, inhaled corticosteroids are given in combinations. The adverse effects of treatments are thrush, cataracts, and slow growth.

Allergic Rhinitis:

Allergic Rhinitis

Rhinitis is inflammation in the mucous membrane of the nose. It may be caused by allergens such as pollen grains, dander, animal fur, mould. Symptoms are runny nose, sneezes, postnasal dripping, cough, stuffy nose, nasal itching, headache, fatigue, eyes turn red and itchy, puffiness can also be seen. Non-allergic rhinitis also exists. Environmental factors of reactive nerve response, emotional factors, dietary factors, exercise, drinking alcohol information in the neurons, taking aspirin, and NSAIDs can worsen rhinitis. 

Symptoms and Signs of Allergic Rhinitis:

 Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can also be conjunctivitis, middle ear effusion, redness in the skin, and slow blood flow in the veins of the lower eyelid. Management of rhinitis depends upon the cause. By far intranasal corticosteroids are recommended for allergic rhinitis along with the combination of intranasal antihistamines. More than 30 percent of the population in our country are adversely affected by allergic rhinitis. Out of which, 80 percent of the individual’s age is below 20. The prevalence of the disease is almost 65 percent over the country.

Eczema or Dermatitis:

Eczema or Dermatitis

Eczema is also called dermatitis. It’s an inflammation of the skin. Causes can be beneficial and environmental. It occurs in people with celiac disease and asthma. They are diagnosed with patch tests. Medications include moisturizers, creams, emollients, contact steroids, antihistamines, cyclosporin, azathioprine, and methotrexate. Alongside dietary supplements, probiotics, vitamins, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, ultraviolet light, and other topical treatments are given. Eczema is seen in children’s subsidies by the time they reach adolescence. The exact cause of atopic eczema is unclear. 

Ayurvedic reasons for Allergy

Various factors can be responsible for the manifestation of allergies. The following are the few main causes for allergies according to Ayurveda

  • Decreased digestive capacity
  • Accumulation of toxins
  • Vitiation of doshas
  • Weak immunity
  • Amount of allergens in the body
  • Improper formation of tissues and their nourishment due to ama
  • Intake of incompatible foods & drinks
  • Improper function of ojus (immune system) will lead to various 

Ayurvedic Treatment for Allergy

Ayurvedic treatment for an allergy depends on the nature of the disease. The treatment of asthma differs from allergic rhinitis or allergic skin cognitions like eczema. In each condition, the patient is examined properly to understand the causative factors, the severity of the disease, etc..

An ayurvedic examination tells the state of the doshas in the body and helps to choose the right treatments. If the doshas are aggravated severely, suitable therapeutic procedures like panchakarma treatments are adopted to remove the body’s excess doshas. The elimination of aggravated doshas will help faster recovery from the disease and increase the efficacy of the medication administered for the same. When the doshas are in a mild state, a palliative treatment line is usually preferred to mitigate doshas to cure the disease.

Ayurvedic Diet for Allergy

Along with the right medication, suitable food habits also to be followed. The right food habits will help avoid the accumulation of doshas and prevent the disease’s reoccurrence. The diet should be followed as advised by an ayurvedic doctor to get quicker results. In general, one should eat easily digestible foods only when one feels hungry so that the food gets digested properly, and the equilibrium of the body gets maintained.

Ayurvedic medicine for Allergy

Ayurvedic medicine for an allergy depends on the doshic nature of the disease. There is no single medication used in treating any kind of allergies. An ayurvedic doctor may prescribe various ayurvedic medicine for allergies depending on the disease’s stage and state. Each drug is given to get the intended results and stoped after observing the desired changes. The treatments always end with some rejuvenate medications, which helps prevent the reoccurrence of the diseases by strengthening the body tissues and their functions.

Conclusion

Various types of allergies can make one’s life miserable. Identifying the cause for allergy and taking suitable treatment will help to cure the allergies. Ayurvedic Treatment is aimed to address the root cause of the disease and helps to cure them. The right diet and lifestyle will help prevent the disease’s reoccurrence by strengthening the immune system.

Reference:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=asthma
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26335832/
  3. Occupational Asthma Defined
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31319644/
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatitis
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12100301/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21702660/
  8. https://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergy
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