Allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction to a particular allergen. Allergens are substances in the environment. The most common allergens are: pollen from trees and grasses, house dust mite, moulds, pets such as cats and dogs, insects like wasps and bees, industrial and household chemicals, medicines, and foods such as milk and eggs.

Nuts, fruit and latex are among the less common allergens. Allergy happens when the body's immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances.

Allergies are not always harmful. But they can results in an immune response and a reaction that causes symptoms and disease in a person, which in turn can a great deal of misery.

An allergic response can be anything from a runny nose, itchy eyes and palate to skin rash. Allergy aggravates the sense of smell, sight, tastes and touch causing irritation, extreme disability and sometimes fatality.

Almost one person in four of the population gets allergic response some time in their lives. And the number of patients getting allergy is increasing each year. The common symptoms of allergy include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and ears, severe wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, sinus problems, a sore palate and nettle-like rash.

Here are some useful tips to deal with allergies:

1) Stay indoors when the pollen count is high. Late spring and summer months are when one needs to be extra cautious.

2) Use decongestants for short-term relief but if an allergic reaction persists for more than a few days, we suggest that you make a quick visit to your physician.

3) Watch out for wheezing like symptoms with allergies. These could be dangerous and cause serious harm to the respiratory system.

4) Use moisturizers or hydrocortisone cream to soothe skin irritations. Also, be careful of what you wear during such allergies.

5) Ask the pharmacist for newer antihistamines that are less likely to cause drowsiness. Take the physician’s advice if you suffer from excessive drowsiness.

6) Consult an allergist if problems persist.