Allergic manifestation is kind of an immune response of the body, rather an unwanted one. It can include different organs singularly or more together, affecting skin, upper (nose, sinuses) or lower (lungs) respiratory tracts, gastro-intestinal system, etc.
Incidence of Allergic diseases including Asthma appear to be increasing globally, considered causes include changes in global temperature and urbanization.
Chronic nature of the allergic conditions affects quality of life reducing productivity at work and school. Some conditions can be life threatening as in allergic reactions to insect stings like honey bee and wasp, food, medicine, uncontrolled asthma, etc.
Basic research in the field is making progress which includes the understanding of interaction between genes and environment causing the suffering. Molecular research ultimately translates into clinical research and evaluation, and help develop medicines for targeted therapy and measures to be taken for prevention or modify the damaging immune/inflammatory response.
Although there is no permanent solution available currently, control of the ailment is available through different measures like exposure avoidance if possible, medicines and immunotherapy (as per indication for inhalants and insect sting) which modifies the immune response.
Though currently avoidance is the only treatment available for food allergy (apart from symptomatic treatment if reaction occurs), research is underway for food immunotherapy.
Apart from side effects and toxicity, other adverse reaction from drugs can occur. It could be idiosyncratic or immune reaction. Immune reaction is called Drug Allergy. Currently, as per allergy literature, recommended screening for drug allergy is not available due to unreliability of the results for most of the drugs. Researchers are active in finding a reliable way to predict reaction before a drug is given. Difficulties in developing such a test include variability, reproducibility, standardization, drug-gene interaction in some, different types of immune reaction as different components of immune system participate, etc.
Appropriate evaluation with detailed history, physical examination, lab tests, allergy skin test or reliable lab tests if indicated, lung function test, radiology tests if indicated, etc. can help in the management of Allergic diseases and Asthma.
Dr Rajen Trivedi