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Allergy

Allergy is a reactive response of the immune system to external substances. Most substances which induce allergy are actually not harmful and do not have any effect on non-allergic people. Any substance that triggers allergic reaction in the body is called “allergen.” There are a great variety of allergens. Food, airborne pollens, household dust and tiny invisible insects in it, animal hair, clothes, ornaments, chemicals and many other things can be an allergy factor.

The World Allergy Organization, determined in a study including 1.200.000 people from 30 different countries that 22% (250 millions) of these people have at least one allergic disease. In Turkey, the prevalence of allergic asthma is 2-5%, allergic rhinitis 7.5-15%, allergic eczema 0.08-5%, food allergy 5%.

Exposure to allergens causes the release of inflammatory mediators such as histamine from mast and basophylic cells. Inflammation-based symptoms negatively affect the patient.

Allergic rhinitis: Nasal inflammation caused by allergy. It occurs when allergens attach to the airway mucosal lining and start an inflammatory reaction. Overall, it is divided into two groups. "Seasonal rhinitis" is the type which occurs in certain seasons (mostly in the spring when pollens fly in the air). The type which persists all year long round is called “perennial rhinitis”. The causes of perennial rhinitis are allergens such as animal hair, various chemicals or house dust, which are present all year round.

Allergic eczema: A skin disease seen mostly in the first years of life associated with dry skin, rash and itching. The most affected areas are the cheeks, lower neck, inner side of the elbows and back of the knees. Its severity starts to decrease when the child approaches the age of 6. The primary cause of allergic eczema is the food allergy. Cow milk and eggs are the most common causes. But it has been shown that airborne allergens such as house dust can also be responsible.

Allergic asthma: The main characteristic of allergic asthma is that there are one or more allergens (mites, pets, pollens, molds etc.) to which the patient is sensitive. First symptoms are usually seen at childhood. Other allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis, eczema, drug allergy, food allergy etc. are very often seen in the patient or in his/her family.  It responds very well to therapy with drugs and vaccines.

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