Allergen is ... Definition, types, features and interesting facts
The concept of an allergy, and the allergen in particular, is familiarnot only among medical specialists. Many people in the world are faced with allergic reactions and their consequences. So what is an allergen? Allergen is exactly what causes this allergic reaction. You should consider this issue in more detail.
What is an allergen?
First, you need to consider a term such assensitization. It is a hypersensitivity of the body to certain types of substances and the resulting allergic reaction. Lead to this state is allergens. Penetrating into the human body, these substances cause a violent reaction of the immune system, accompanied by inflammatory processes.
In the form of allergens can act the mosta variety of substances: from elementary chemical elements to their complex compounds. The method of penetration into the body of these substances can be divided into two types: exogenous and endogenous. The first penetrate from the outside, and the latter, also called autoallergens, are synthesized by the human organs. Exogenous can be divided into non-infectious and infectious, respectively. Non-infectious types of allergens include:
- household dust;
- animal hair;
- medical preparations;
- chemical substances;
- pollen of plants;
- various food allergens.
To infectious - a different kind of pathogenicmicroorganisms, fungi and substances associated with their livelihoods. The ways of getting into the body of exogenous allergens can be very different. Allergenic substances that enter the body in an exogenous way are usually divided into several groups.
An allergen of this origin ismedical preparations (on a serum basis or vaccines), intestinal parasites (causative agents of helminthosis), pathogenic microorganisms (microbes, viruses), fungal formations. The vast majority of infectious pathologies are accompanied by allergic reactions. This type of allergy is called infectious, and the pathologies caused by pathogens and the symptoms of which are exacerbated by allergic reactions, infectious-allergic.
They are often caused by microorganisms andfungi, constantly present on the skin, the surface of the respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract. The cause of an allergic reaction may become focal inflammatory processes: pulpitis, sinusitis, cholecystitis and others. Reactions of an allergic nature in the presence of helminthiosis are caused by absorption by the walls of the digestive tract of the products of decay and the exchange of intestinal parasites.
As the name suggests, the drug allergen -these are the components of medications. Almost every drug can act as a catalyst for an allergic reaction. The first lines in the list of such drugs are penicillins, acetylsalicylic acid, codeine, sulfonamides, preparations based on novocaine, some vitamins and the like.
Medicinal preparations having in their compositionPenicillin, most often cause serious manifestations of allergies. Even a slight excess of the dose can contribute to this. Before taking any medication, it is advisable to consult a doctor and learn the instructions for use. The danger also lies in the fact that the allergy may not appear on the first admission of the drug.
Household allergens can be divided into two groups: dust and epidermal.
One of the main household allergens isbanal domestic dust. Its composition is not so trite as the name, and includes many ingredients: dusty microparticles from floor and wall coverings, personal belongings, furniture, fungal formations, parts of insects that live in the house, such as bedbugs, bed pliers and so on. And it is this mixture that you have to breathe in the house.
Also constituent dust are synanthropicticks, allergic reaction to the presence of which has become very widespread in recent years. The increased temperature in insulated houses is the catalyst for their reproduction. With insufficient ventilation, the conditions for these microparasites become even more favorable. Sinanthropic mites prefer warm places with high humidity and are indistinguishable to the naked eye. In most cases, there are in huge quantities in beds, bedding, furniture and plush toys. The main source of food for them - exfoliated particles of human skin. By the way, they are the main part of the dust mass.
Allergens in this case are not themselvesmicroscopic parasites, and waste of their vital activity. Extremely small size of these secretions allows them to be present in the air for a very long time, which causes their frequent entry into the lungs of a person through respiratory organs. Allergy in the respiratory tract may have signs of hay fever and asthmatic diseases. Skin signs of allergic reactions to synanthropic mites are manifested as eczema. The vast majority of allergy sufferers are exposed to this type of allergy.
To the household group of allergens are andepidermal. They include other people's hair, wool and animal dander. A strong allergenic effect has fish food, especially dry. Sadly, pets are one of the most powerful sources of allergenic substances. Although it should be said that the animals themselves do not release allergens, the danger lies in substances for which wool and other allocation of pets are an excellent habitat and reproduction:
- salivary gland secretions;
- exfoliated skin;
The most common form is an allergic reaction to members of the feline family. The most severe on the course are allergies to artiodactyls and rodents.
In recent years, cases began to appear more oftenthe occurrence of allergies to components of household chemicals, such as dishwashing detergents, washing supplies. Allergic reactions in such cases are mostly represented by asthmatic manifestations and inflammatory processes in the nasopharynx.
Pollen allergen is the pollen of somerepresentatives of the flora, mostly from the species of wind-pollinated. Allergic reactions appear in the form of inflammation of the respiratory tract, conjunctivitis and other signs of pollinosis.
The smallest particles, of which the pollen consists,spread by wind or insects involved in pollination processes. When it gets on the eye mucosa or nasopharyngeal manifestations of pollinosis are possible. And hitting the lung tissue, the pollen is able to cause an exacerbation of asthmatic diseases. Each sample of pollen of different representatives of the flora corresponds to its time, thanks to this it is possible to identify which pollen of which plant the human body reacted so.
At the top of the list of foods, which often lead to the emergence of allergic reactions, are:
- meat products;
- Fish and seafood;
- some berries (strawberries, strawberries);
If we talk about what allergens in childrenmost often cause an allergic reaction, then the age is affected. Up to 5 years, the most allergenic products will be dairy products, in particular cow's milk, egg proteins, citrus and cocoa products. In children after 5 years, the main food-allergens are often nuts, some fruits and vegetables and various seafood. Allergic reaction can be expressed as a slight reddening of various parts of the skin, and severe bouts, sometimes even life-threatening. Allergy to food in most cases appears with dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract. Children are more likely to be exposed to it as a result of overfeeding.
Recently, the number of household andproduction facilities, which have in their composition various chemical compounds, increased several times. This, in turn, led to the frequent occurrence of such reactions as allergic contact dermatitis.
The same group includes substances used in hairdressing and cosmetology: hair dye, mascara, lipsticks, perfumes and deodorants. May cause an allergic reaction and photoreactives.
In a special group can be distinguished allergensphysical nature - temperature fluctuations, mechanical effects. Although it will be more correct to say that the effect of these factors contributes to the development of various substances, some of which can cause allergic reactions. For example, one of the most rare and exotic factors that can cause allergies is the magnetic field.
Treatment of allergies
Systematic treatment that will allowcompletely cured of allergies, does not exist. One type of therapy is the neutralization of antibodies to allergens, that is, the suppression of an allergic reaction and associated inflammatory processes. This is achieved by a systematic method of antiallergic and antihistamines.
Another way is treatment with allergens. This is the so-called allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT). The principle of therapy is the following: first you need to give blood to allergens. Then, in the patient's body, all large doses of the extract of the substance are injected, to which an allergic reaction is present. Correctly conducted ASIT helps reduce the immune response to the allergen in the body, that is, to reduce the intensity of the allergic reaction. This will reduce the need for antiallergic drugs in the patient.
Allergy is a very unpleasant phenomenon thatthe same can occur at the most inopportune moment. And considering how many allergens exist, the most reasonable is to find out which of them the body is reacting violently. If possible, you need to exclude it from the environment or be prepared for its appearance.