Allergies are disorders that result from a heightened response of the immune system against specific substances, foods, drugs, animal hairs, pollens, mites … etc that are named “allergens”. The immune system of an individual with an allergy considers these allergens foreign bodies that have to be attacked and eliminated.

There are many types of allergies that include nose allergy (allergic rhinitis), skin allergy (contact dermatitis), bronchial asthma, food allergies and hypersensitivity reactions to various pharmaceutical agents. The manifestations of an allergy are rather variable as sometimes it passes unnoticed; suddenheless, allergic reactions can be life threatening in some instances.

People suffering from an allergy can complain of a wide array of symptoms. Sneezing, itching and redness of the nose are common in individuals with nasal allergy, while a skin allergy is usually accompanied by a rash and itching. Bronchial asthma is diagnosed by coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and bluish discoloration of the lips (cyanosis) in several cases.

Whatever the cause, then allergy can lead to shock and death in a percentage of affected people, especially when there is delayed exposure to the allergens to which the person is sensitive. In cases of a sever allergy, the person's immune system is highly sensitized against specific allergen (s) which leads to the release of several chemical substances that aid in the destruction and elimination of the incriminated allergen (s). These mediators may also lead to a reduction of blood pressure to dangerous levels causing what is referred to as “shock”. Low blood pressure levels decrease the blood flow to the brain and other body tissues which may lead to life-threatening situations.

Despite the fact that an allergy can be fatal in some cases, almost all of its manifestations can be avoided with prevention of exposure to the incriminated allergens. People with specific forms of bronchial asthma can live for years without reporting an attack, when exposure to the relevant allergen (s) is avoided. Some people are sensitive to one allergen, on the other hand a significant number of people with an allergy are sensitive to many allergens which render their elimination from the person's environment almost impossible.

A person with an allergy should always keep a record of substances, foods, animals, plants, etc to which they are sensitive. Occidentally, the list of allergens is changeable ie sensitivity to different allergens increases or decrements; hence, close monitoring of the person's sensitivity is indispensable. A personal health record can be life saving for people with allergies. For instance, if someone who is allergic to a specific drug experiences an accident that was to render them unconscious, then to have their own health record with them could well be life-saving by helping health / medical providers with valuable information.

People with an allergy sometimes undergo a form of skin patch test to determine the allergens to which they are sensitive. A thorough clinical history should be obtained before skin patch testing to identify potential allergens and the substances that should be used during the testing procedure. A person with a skin allergy should include all the allergens to which the test has found them sensitive in a personal health record that should always be with them just like an ID or a driver's license is.

Although most people with bronchial asthma fail to show sensitivity against specific allergens during skin patch testing, observation and close follow up can help identify triggering allergens or environmental conditions in many cases. Correspondingly, a personal health record is crucial for individuals suffering from bronchial asthma, especially during childhood as the sensitivity to various allergens varies markedly with age.

Hypo-sensitization refers to a line of treatment of allergic disorders in both children and adults. The treatment aims at decreasing the sensitivity of the person's immune system towards incriminated allergens. This is achieved through injection of incremental doses of specific allergens to reduce the response against them in the person's body. A personal health record is pivotal if hypo-sensitization is planned to be performed at a point or another during the course of the disease as it helps in the determination of the allergens to which the person's sensitivity should be reduced. Moreover, a personal health record will identify allergens that induce sever manifestations and should be prioritized during hypo-sensitization.

Although nowdays electronic health records or online health records are a popular way of keeping a person's vital data and their personal health record these records are not yet universalized or readily available at the point of required emergency treatment.

Allergic disorders can be life threatening, however, a smart personal health record can help avoid such situations, so if you suffer from an allergic condition, get your personal health record today!