Allergy : some effects and treatment
Galvin, Emily Sedgwick
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Although allergy has long plagued the human race, it has only been in this century that physicians and scientists began to understand the complicated mechanisms which cause allergic disease and the public is little aware of some of the ramifications. Immunology research, of which allergy is a part, has received a great deal of attention and has made great progress in recent years; most notably, the discovery of an antibody, called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which triggers the body's allergic reaction, giving rise to hay fever, asthma, hives, and other miseries. The purpose of this study is to disseminate greater understanding of these issues to the:public. The allergy disease is only part of the problem. Allergy, the most common chronic illness in America, can lead to other illnesses and problems. Otitis media, an inflammatory disease of the middle ear, is often the result of an allergy. It is characterized by a fluid accumulation, which causes a hearing loss when present. If otitis media occurs repeatedly throughout the early years, the hearing loss almost inevitably begins to affect language acquisition. An important part of learning to talk is hearing other people talking and hearing one's own utterances. Another problem which may result from allergy is dental malocclusion. The young allergy patient whose nose is blocked will consequently breathe through the mouth. Mouth breathing displaces the normal muscular forces and causes the teeth to be pulled into a narrow arch. The crowded teeth and overbite then require orthodontic correction. Mouth breathing also can produce a lowered tissue resistance to bacterial irritation through the drying process. Allergy disease also can affect the life of the family and the emotional balance of each member. The young allergy patient commands more time and attention than a healthy child. This is not always understood and accepted by other members of the family. Fatigue also may play a part in the resulting disunity of the family. Allergy, itself, can cause fatigue, but it also can cause sleep disruption for the patient and consequently for his parents. Irritability and impatience, coming from the fatigue, can cause unfortunate relationships both within the family and outside of it. At present, there are three treatments available to the allergy patient: avoidance, desensitization therapy and pharmacological management. The effectiveness of treatment is individualistic and subjective. The conditions can be complex and the effects can be far reaching.