I have frequent cough/cold and chest congestion – Is this allergy?
Short answer: Yes, it can be. Let me tell you more about allergy.
The term allergy was coined by Clemens von Pirquet in the year 1906 to describe harmful immune responses for the host. The word comes from the Greek allos (other) and ergon (reaction) meaning “change in the original state”. The phenomenon of Allergy takes place when a person’s immune system reacts to substances in the environment which are harmless for most people.
These substances are called allergens and they are found in dust mites, pets, pollen, insects, ticks, moulds, foods and even in some medicines. Allergy occurs in people who are having a particular tendency called “atopy”, which is the genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop allergic diseases.
So, When a person with atopy is exposed to allergen, completing the cascade of “ Gene-Environment Interaction”, one can develop an immune reaction that leads to allergic inflammation (redness and swelling).
These reactions manifest as frequent cough, running nose, sneezing, itching of eyes, throat irritation, chest congestion and in severe cases breathing difficulty and wheezing.
Hence, It is possible that if you are having repeated attacks of cough & cold like during a season change or while change of place, you are just completing the cascade of interaction and you require work up for allergy and counseling for allergen avoidance.