Allergy

Study: Many herbal supplements aren't what the label says

Bottles of Walmart-brand echinacea, an herb said to ward off colds, were found to contain no echinacea at all. GNC-brand bottles of St. John's wort, touted as a cure for depression, held rice, garlic and a tropical houseplant, ...

Feb 03, 2015
popularity 5 / 5 (6) | comments 0

Skin based immunity secrets revealed

A team of international scientists has discovered a new mechanism by which immune cells in the skin function act as the body's 'border control', revealing how these cells sense whether lipid or fat-like molecules ...

Feb 03, 2015
popularity 4.2 / 5 (6) | comments 0

Immune cells commit suicide to prevent allergy

Scientists from the CNRS, INSERM and Université de Limoges, working in the Laboratoire Contrôle de la Réponse Immune B et Lymphoproliférations (CNRS/Université de Limoges) have demonstrated that the ...

Feb 13, 2015
popularity 5 / 5 (2) | comments 0

HIV vaccine trial launches in South Africa

A clinical trial called HVTN 100 has been launched in South Africa to study an investigational HIV vaccine regimen for safety and the immune responses it generates in study participants. This experimental ...

Feb 18, 2015
popularity 5 / 5 (2) | comments 0

An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. A substance that causes a reaction is called an allergen. These reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid. Allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is formally called type I (or immediate) hypersensitivity. Allergic reactions are distinctive because of excessive activation of certain white blood cells called mast cells and basophils by a type of antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). This reaction results in an inflammatory response which can range from uncomfortable to dangerous.

Mild allergies like hay fever are very common in the human population and cause symptoms such as red eyes, itchiness, and runny nose, eczema, hives, hay fever, or an asthma attack. Allergies can play a major role in conditions such as asthma. In some people, severe allergies to environmental or dietary allergens or to medication may result in life-threatening reactions called anaphylaxis. Food allergies, and reactions to the venom of stinging insects such as wasps and bees are often associated with these severe reactions.

A variety of tests exist to diagnose allergic conditions. These include placing possible allergens on the skin and looking for a reaction such as swelling. Blood tests can also be done to look for an allergen-specific IgE.

Treatments for allergies include avoiding known allergens, use of medications such as anti-histamines that specifically prevent allergic reactions, steroids that modify the immune system in general, and medications such as decongestants that reduce the symptoms. Many of these medications are taken by mouth, though epinephrine, which is used to treat anaphylactic reactions, is injected. Immunotherapy uses injected allergens to desensitize the body's response.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

Mystery of the reverse-wired eyeball solved

From a practical standpoint, the wiring of the human eye - a product of our evolutionary baggage - doesn't make a lot of sense. In vertebrates, photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye - resulting ...

Neurons controlling appetite made from skin cells

Researchers have for the first time successfully converted adult human skin cells into neurons of the type that regulate appetite, providing a patient-specific model for studying the neurophysiology of weight ...

Does traffic noise increase the risk of obesity?

There is an association between road traffic noise and the risk of obesity among people who are particularly sensitive to noise, according to a study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.