What are allergies?
Allergies occur when a person’s immune system overreacts to substances that are typically harmless. It can also occur when a person’s immune system reacts to foreign substances such as pollen, bee venom, pet dander, or even certain foods.
A person’s immune system produces substances called antibodies. When you suffer from allergies, your immune system develops antibodies that identify a specific allergen as harmful, even if it’s not. The reaction of your immune system when you come into contact with these allergens can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways, or digestive system.
The seriousness of allergies differs for each patient. It can range from slight irritation to a serious life-threatening allergic reaction (also known as anaphylaxis). Although most allergies cannot be cured, there are many treatments that can help relieve the symptoms of your allergy.
Allergies and the Immune System
Allergy is one of the most typical chronic health conditions around the world. A person with a family history of allergies has a higher risk of having allergies. Hay fever, asthma, runny nose, eczema, and food allergies are some types of allergies. Symptoms of these allergies range from mild to potentially life-threatening emergency (anaphylaxis).
Allergic reactions start in a person’s immune system. When a harmless substance (for example: dust, mold, or pollen) is encountered by a person with allergies, it’s possible that their immune system will overreact. Their immune system will then produce antibodies that will attack the allergen, which causes wheezing, itching, runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms of allergic reaction.
What is the immune system?
Your immune system keeps microorganisms (for example, bacteria, viruses, and fungi) out of your body. It is made up of a complex and vital network of cells and organs that protect your body from any infectious microorganisms.
Lymphoid organs, or the organs involved with your immune system, affect the growth, development, and release of white blood cells known as lymphocytes. The blood vessels and lymphatic vessels carry the lymphocytes to and from different parts of your body. Each lymphoid organ plays a role in producing and activating lymphocytes.
Here are some examples of lymphoid organs.
Adenoids are the 2 glands that are located at the back of your nasal passages.
An appendix is a small tube connected to your large intestine.
3. Blood Vessels
The arteries, veins, and capillaries are the three kinds of blood vessels. Each one of these blood vessels plays a particular role in the process of circulation.
4. Bone Marrow
Bone marrow is found in your bone cavities. It is composed of soft and fatty tissue.
5. Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are the small bean-shaped organs located throughout your body and connected through the lymphatic vessels.
6. Lymphatic Vessels
Lymphatic vessels are the network of capillaries and a large network of tubes found throughout your body that carries lymph away from tissues.
7. Peyer Patches
Peyer patches are small masses of lymphoid tissue in your small intestine.
A spleen is an organ that has the same size as a fist located in your abdominal cavity.
The thymus is a specialized primary lymphoid organ of your immune system. It is the two lobes that join in front of your trachea behind your breastbone.
Tonsils are the 2 oval masses located at the back of your throat.
Can allergies weaken your immune system?
Summer season is here, and with the heat comes the usual threat of some seasonal allergies. This is also the time when many people are wondering, “can allergies weaken your immune system?”. A direct answer to this question is yes – allergies can indeed weaken your immune system.
Although having allergies doesn’t cause you to have a cold or flu, your allergy treatment is a factor that makes you vulnerable to other sicknesses. Sometimes, it’s hard to differentiate between allergies and sickness. Let’s say that you’re sneezing, have a runny nose, and a sore throat. You may be mistake these symptoms of allergy for a cold. The only time you’ll realize that it’s more than just an allergy is when you suffer from a fever or headache. In addition, a cold may last only for a week or so, while your allergies will stay for as long as you get exposed to the allergen.
However, if you’re suffering from allergies and they aren’t getting effective treatment, it could possibly weaken your immune system, making you more at risk on viruses and other bacterias. This can result in your allergies evolving into a sinus, ear, or infection in your upper respiratory.
If you have asthma, your sensitive air passages may be more responsive to viruses and bacterias. Also, when the symptoms of your allergy disturb you from getting a good night’s sleep, that also can further affect your immune system and makes you more likely to have an infection. If you get sick while having asthma, you could be at a higher risk of suffering complications from the sickness.
How to Live with Allergies, Not Sickness
Luckily, there are ways to strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of having sickness despite having allergies, including:
1. Practice Good Hygiene
Keep viruses and bacterias at bay by always washing your hands thoroughly. Make sure that you already washed your hands before touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you haven’t washed your hands yet.
2. Always Eat A Balanced Diet
There are nutritious foods that you can eat which can help fight against infection. These include berries, garlic, leafy greens, poultry, cauliflower, kale, raw honey, and yogurt.
3. Get A Lot of Rest
This is common knowledge but still worth mentioning. A good night’s sleep can boost your immune system and maintain low levels of stress.
4. Avoid Having Contact With Sick People
Keep your distance from people with sickness, and don’t touch the objects that they use.
5. Clean Your Household and Working Area Regularly
Make sure to maintain the cleanliness of your home and working area. You can use soap and water or detergents to clean. By following this, you can get rid of the viruses and bacterias, especially on the things that you often touch.
6. Get Vaccinated
You can ask your doctor for vaccines that are available against infections or common diseases. They will also tell you if these vaccines are right for you.
7. Control Your Allergies
You should control your allergies and don’t ignore or leave them untreated. Consult your doctor or health provider to find the treatment that fits you or any medication that you should take.
To learn more about allergies, visit ENT Allergy and Sinus and see all the services that we offer. Schedule your consultation and contact us today!