Allergic Clinical Picures
Allergies can manifest themselves in different clinical overviews. Skin, mucous membranes, lungs and intestines can be affected. Where allergic symptoms manifest themselves can also depend on age. The first allergic symptoms almost always appear on the skin. In the course of a lifetime, these can shift to another germ layer and then occur, for example, as hay fever or asthma.
In infants, the skin is almost always affected with the typical itchy skin changes in the knee and elbow bends. In puberty, the skin symptoms often decrease. However, there is a risk that the allergy will shift to a different layer, leading to hay fever or asthma. It is less common for an allergy to develop in the course of a lifetime.
Neurodermatitis -- also called atopic eczema, atopic dermatitis or endogenous eczema -- is one of the most common skin diseases, which usually begins in infancy and childhood. It is not contagious, but rather a genetic predisposition to develop an allergy to certain natural substances in the environment. If the disease breaks out in early childhood, it often disappears when puberty sets in. If neurodermatitis occurs during or after puberty, the prognosis is generally less favorable.
Neurodermatitis often occurs as a so-called milk crust in infancy and manifests itself in certain areas such as the face, crook of the arm, hollow of the knee or back of the hand. The disease is chronic or relapsing and can be subject to seasonal fluctuations.
Typical features are painful itching, and chronic dry, brittle skin, which tends to become inflamed. Eczema manifests itself as a reddened, scaly and occasionally weeping skin change, which is also accompanied by severe itching.
The outcome of atopic dermatitis is decisively influenced by which central allergen (cow's milk or wheat) forms the basis of the disease.
Hypersensitivity to grass and flower pollen (popularly known as hay fever) is now the most common form of allergy worldwide. In addition to the overtaxed human adaptability due to stress on our habitat, it is the growing aggressiveness of pollen, caused by air pollution, that is responsible for this rapid increase in susceptibility to hay fever.
Hay fever occurs only seasonally, according to the flowering period of the allergenic plants. The individual hay fever period therefore provides important information about the pollen to which you are allergic.
Anyone who is allergic to pollen may also have difficulties with certain foods, especially during the pollen flight season. They can lead to itching, swelling and blisters of the oral mucosa, but also to colds, conjunctivitis, asthma and skin reactions. The reason for these so-called cross allergies is the widely branched relationship of the plants to each other.
Asthma is a disease of the airways with attacks of severe shortness of breath. In bronchial asthma, the bronchial tubes tend to constrict like a cramp. In addition, an inflammation of the bronchial mucosa may change. The mucous membrane cells swell and a large amount of mucus is produced, which makes breathing much more difficult. The result is coughing, sputum and shortness of breath. Problems with exhalation are particularly notable. Breathing turns into wheezing, accompanied by dry whistling and rattling noises.
It is also common that the lips turn blue due to the reduced oxygen supply. The breathing muscles are also increasingly burdened as a result of the obstructed breathing. A chronic asthmatic can therefore be recognized by his or her raised shoulders and the deformation of the chest along the horizontal ribs.
The disease can occur in both childhood and adulthood. In adult asthmatics, the patient's account often shows an earlier neurodermatitis: The allergy has thus shifted from the skin to the lungs.
Food allergies to hay fever and asthma
If you are allergic to pollen, you may have difficulties with certain foods, especially during the pollen season. This can lead to itching, swelling and blisters in the oral mucosa, but also to colds, conjunctivitis, asthma and skin reactions.
Causes of cross-allergies
The reason for these so-called cross allergies is the widely branched relationship of the plants to each other. Some pollen and certain foods contain common allergens, i.e. certain proteins that the body recognizes and reacts to in the same way, with typical allergy symptoms. A birch pollen allergy sufferer may experience tingling, itching or swelling of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat when eating a fresh apple. Food allergies are particularly frequent in the case of pollen allergies to early flowering plants (e.g. birch, alder, hazel). Over 50 percent of birch pollen allergy sufferers also experience a food allergy to one or more of the foods listed below.
Consequences for the meal plan
The more natural a food is, the more likely it is to cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, in the case of a known pollen allergy, the foods to which a cross allergy applies should be avoided as much as possible during the flowering period. However, many fruits and vegetables lose their allergenic effect when heated and are then usually well tolerated. This is especially true for apples and carrots.
Sometimes it is sufficient to change the variety. For example, old apple varieties such as Boskop, Gravensteiner, Gloster or Berlepsch cause significantly fewer allergies than Braeburn, Jonagold or Granny Smith. Most allergens are found in the skin. Therefore, peeling the apple can also improve its tolerability.
If a food allergy only occurs during the pollen season, it is not necessary to leave the food out all year round and it can be consumed in autumn or winter. Allergenic relationships between individual foods and pollen should not lead to entire plant families being deleted from the menu. For example, head or endive salad from the daisy flower family are closely related to mugwort, but they are hardly known as allergy triggers.
Here you will find a table of the most important cross allergies.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
The causes of the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases known as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have not yet been researched in detail. A typical feature of both diseases is that they occur in relapses. The diseases mainly affect adolescents and younger adults.
The patients suffer from watery stools with blood and mucus secretions, experience constipation up to 15 times a day, and can be accompanied by painful colic. In severe cases, fistulas form which often have to be removed surgically. However, a life-threatening intestinal obstruction is far more dangerous.
In ulcerative colitis, the extent of the inflammation is limited to the rectum and large intestine; in Crohn's disease, the entire digestive tract from the oral cavity to the anus can be affected. Both diseases have accompanying symptoms in common such as fever, physical weakness, weight loss and inflammation of other mucous membranes; for example, joints or conjuctiva.
It is assumed that the inflammatory processes are triggered not only by genetic predisposition but also by psychological factors, above all by loss experiences and fears of loss. It has now been shown that they are provoked and stimulated by irritants and inflammatory substances in the intestine. Presumably these derive from food components or antigens of microorganisms which the immune system cannot manage in the intestine and are therefore react in a permanent state of alarm.