Article by peterhutch
Allergy is a disorder of the immune system often also referred to as atopy. Allergic reactions occur to environmental substances known as allergens; these reactions are acquired, predictable and rapid. Strictly, allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is called type I (or immediate) hypersensitivity. It is characterized by excessive activation of certain white blood cells called mast cells and basophils by a type of antibody, known as IgE, resulting in an extreme inflammatory response. Common allergic reactions include eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma, food allergies, and reactions to the venom of stinging insects such as wasps and bees.
Allergies cause increased drainage which can collect in the sinus cavities or ears. This moisture is a perfect environment for bacteria to grow, and many people with allergies have chronic sinus infections or ear infections.
An allergy refers to an exaggerated reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. It is exaggerated because these foreign substances are usually seen by the body as harmless and no response occurs in non- allergic people. Allergic people’s bodies recognize the foreign substance and one part of the immune system is turned on. Allergy-producing substances are called “allergens.” Examples of allergens include pollens, dust mite, molds, danders, and foods. To understand the language of allergy it is important to remember that allergens are substances that are foreign to the body and can cause an allergic reaction in certain people.
You have an allergy when your body overreacts to things that don’t cause problems for most people. These things are called allergens. Your body’s overreaction to the allergens is what causes symptoms (see the box below for a list of symptoms). For example, sometimes the term “hay fever” is used to describe your body’s allergic reaction to seasonal allergens in the air, such as grass or pollen
Normally, the body learns to defend itself through experience – by encountering, battling and remembering one enemy after another. For decades, medical science has taken advantage of this ability by using vaccination to create immunity – the immunologic “memory” of a disease. Allergic reactions occur after the immune system mistakenly learns to recognize innocent foreign substances (allergens) as potentially harmful.
Sings and Symptoms of Allergy
People with allergy symptoms often have asthma. Sometimes a cough is the first symptom of asthma, but a cough can be a symptom of other things also. Wheezing, especially at night or after exercise, is common with asthma.
Allergic reactions can be mild, like a runny nose, or they can be severe, like difficulty breathing. An asthma attack, for example, is often an allergic reaction to something that is breathed into the lungs in a person who is susceptible.
A severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, is a rare, life-threatening emergency in which the bodyâ€™s response to the allergen is sudden and affects the whole body (systemic). Anaphylaxis may begin with severe itching of the eyes or face and within minutes progresses to more serious symptoms, including swelling (which could result in difficulty swallowing and breathing); abdominal pain; cramps; vomiting; diarrhea; hives; and angioedema (hives in the throat).
Diarrhoea is an extremely common disorder which affects most people at some time during their lives. The cause of diarrhoea numerous defects in the gastrointestinal tract that lead to an increase in stool water, volume and frequency.
Hay fever causes the eyes to water, sometimes profusely, and itch. The whites of the eyes and the eyelids may become red and swollen. Wearing contact lenses can irritate the eyes further. The lining of the nose may become swollen and bluish red. Other symptoms include headache, coughing, wheezing, and irritability.
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