What are Allergies

A negative reaction to a certain substance by the immune system.  The immune system defends us against invaders and when it is mistaken it reacts to harmless substances as if they were invaders.

Most people do not develop illness after they are exposed to dust, dust mites, mold, pets, freshly cut grass, ice-cream, a hot slice of fresh bread etc.  Allergic people will commonly develop hay fever, asthma, hives, eczema, and even digestive symptom after exposure to certain of these usually harmless substances.

Allergies commonly affect the nose, eye and sinuses, they can be classified under 4 categories:

  1. Allergic rhinitis: Inflammation (swelling ) of the nasal membranes due to pollen, dust, dust mites, mould, pet dander (loose akin scales) etc.
  2. Non-allergic rhinitis: Inflammation (swelling) of the nasal membranes due to chemicals, for example, cleaning agents, smoke, perfume, scented candles, petrochemicals etc.
  3. Allergic conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the eyes causing red, watery, itchy, puffy, swollen eyes.
  4. Sinusitis: Acute and chronic infections of the sinus cavities if left untreated could cause sinus pressure, headaches, asthma, chronic cough and wheezing.