What is Allergy? The Definition of Allergy

Allergies and Their Effects

What Are Allergies?

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Today, almost anyone on earth are familiar with or have suffered from allergies. In fact, the subject of allergies is so common all over the world, that you can ask any stranger on the street about the subject and the person will for sure have something to say about it. Allergies can be defined as the abnormal reactions of the immune system to a substance that is normally considered harmless. This element is called an allergen. The reaction of the body is actually a release of chemicals that leads to the occurrence of allergic symptoms.

An allergic person can have a hard time dealing with the effects of a certain substance, while everyone else has no problems with it. But, at the same time, someone who experiences certain symptoms after using a substance cannot be immediately considered to be allergic to that substance. A good example can be the one of someone who has symptoms that are similar to the side effects of medication, but these symptoms are not the result of taking medicine.

How Does an Allergic Reaction Manifest?

There are allergic cells in the human body, such as mast cells and basophils. These cells have allergic antibodies that can capture the allergens during an allergic reaction. Chemicals are released in the cells afterwards and this is what generates the symptoms. Such chemicals can be leukotrienes and histamine.

The Beginning of an Allergic Reaction

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Allergic antibodies (lgE) can be generated when someone is allergic to agents like pollen, mold, dust mites, animal dander, venom, medication and certain foods. In order for the immune system of the body to start producing antibodies, the body must be exposed to a certain amount of allergenic substance. This process is known as sensitization.

If the body is exposed again to the same agent, the same allergens are caught by their corresponding antibodies. When this occurs an allergic reaction happens and the body sends signals in the form of symptoms. The symptoms can be different, according to the type of exposure and the type of substance the person is allergic to. For example, being exposed to pollen can lead to different symptoms than eating certain foods.

The Reasons and Causes of Developing Allergies

The exact reasons for which some individuals become allergic and others do not, is not yet known. It has been discovered however, that allergies can develop within families. In the past it was believed that allergic reactions were a means of defense against parasitic infections. Today, allergies respond to non-invasive agents and can appear in the life of an individual at any time. The common periods in which allergies can occur are childhood and adolescence.

You May Also like to read: The Main Causes of Allergies.

Resource:

http://www.medicinenet.com/allergy/article.htm

http://acaai.org/allergies/symptoms

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