ALLERGY – AN IMMUNE RESPONSE

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Article by Dr Urooj Fatima , 11/02/2021

WHAT IS ALLERGY ?

On exposure to various foreign substances viz., pollen ,animal dander, latex, certain food items, dust mites etc. Our body produces variety of responses immediately so as to combat its bad effects that may at times  be life threatening. These responses are manifested as sneezing, coughing, running nose, watery eyes, diarrhea, vomiting, skin eruptions etc.Such type of reaction of an individual’s immune system to substances in environment that are usually harmless is termed Allergy , & the substances are known as Allergens.

The term allergy was defined by Clemens Von Perquet as “an altered capacity of the body to react to a foreign substance”.

It’s one type of an immune response, that are termed as hypersensitivity. It produces immunological tissue injury. There are four types of hypersensitivity reactions classified by Coombs & Gell.

Allergy comes in Type I Hypersensitivity mediated by IgE antibodies.

WHAT CAUSES ALLERGIC REACTIONS

When a person comes in contact with an allergen, our body’s immune system recognize the allergen as foreign substance & gets ready to attack.

  • On first contact to allergens(antigen) immune system commences production of antibodies called IgE(Immunoglobulin E). The antibodies formed bind to Fc receptors present on surface of mast cells & basophils.
  • Second contact with the same antigen, IgE antibodies on surface of mast cells –basophils get firmly attached to Fc receptors & causes membrane lysis, influx of sodium & water & degranulation of mastcells-basophils.
  • Released granules contain Histamine, Serotonin, Leucotriene B4 &D4 , Prostaglandin (Thromboxane A2, PGA2, PGE2), Chemotactic factors of Anaphylaxis for neutrophils , eosinophils & Platelet activating factor.
  • These mediators leads to:

a)Increased smooth muscle contraction+ peripheral vasodilatation+ increases vascular permeability

b)shock

c) Extravasation of capillary(Erythema)

d)Fluid shift into interstitial space( Edema)

e) Increases nasal secretion

f) increased lacrimal secretion               

g)Pruritus( itching)

h)Eosinophils&Neutrophils spread to site of injury – Eosonophilia&Neutrophilia

TYPES OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS

SyndromeCommon allergensRoute of entryResponse
Systemic anaphylaxisDrugs Serum VenomsIntravenous or oral absorption into bloodEdema Increased vascular permeability Tracheal occlusion Bronchospasm Circulatory collapse Death
Urticaria (cutaneous anaphylaxis)
Insect bitesSubcutaneousCongestion & increased vascular permeability
Allergic rhinitis(Hay fever)Pollen Dust mitesInhalationEdema of nasal mucosa with irritation Mucus secretion
AsthmaAnimal dander DustInhalationBronchial constriction Increased mucus production Inflammation of airway
Food allergyPea nuts Shell fish Milk Eggs FishOralVomiting Diarrhoea Pruritis Urticaria Anaphylaxis
Latex allergyNatural rubber latexContact with  proteins found in natural latex rubberItching Erythema Congestion
Dermatitis (Eczema)Detergents Jewelry Soaps Fragrances Cosmetics  On contact with a certain substanceSkin rash Itching Papules Fissures

HOMOEOPATHIC APPROACH FOR ALLERGIES

Conventional methods of treating allergies administer Anti-histamines, decongestants,  Steroids, Broncho-dilators  which got adverse side effects on our body. While homoeopathy  individualise and treats the patient as a whole. Its based on axiom “SimiliaSimilibusCurentur”.

 Homoeopathic medicines boost up our immune systemto cope with exposure to allergens rather than suppressing the allergic symptoms. Following medicines are very effective in relieving symptoms of allergy:

  • ALLIUM CEPA – indicated in cases of inflamed nasal mucosa with profuse acrid discharge and bland lacrimation.
  • EUPHRASIA – effective in profuse acrid lacrimation, with profuse, bland coryza. T.1\he eyes are watery all the time.
  • ARSENIC ALBUM –mentally restless, fastidious, feels head hot and rest of the body is cold, burning, stopped up nose with thin watery nasal discharge, thirst for sips of cold water.
  • APIS MELLIFICA– puffy, red, swelling of eyelid, lips, mouth, throat with burning,itching, stinging; intense chemosis, fishbone sensation in throat, laryngeal spasm.
  • CARBO VEG, NUX VOMICA, SULPHUR – for egg allergy.
  • URTICA URENS – for Shellfish allergy.
  • AETHUSA CYNAPIUM, NATRUMCARB, PULSATILLA– for treating milk allergy.
  • ANTIM CRUD –effective for allergy from fruits.
  • FLUORIC ACID, KALI SULPH – good homoeopathic remedies for treating fish allergy.
  • MORBILINUM– Peanuts allergy.
  • LYCOPERSICUM ESCULENTUM – very effective in Dust allergies.

REFERENCES

  • Textbook of Pathology  – Harsh Mohan
  • Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease
  • William Boericke’sMateriaMedica
  • Allen’s Keynotes

Article by Dr Urooj Fatima B.H.M.S ; from HAHNEMANN HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICAL COLLEGE & HOSPITAL , BHOPAL ( M.P )

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