Allergy

Keeping a lid on inflammation

Regulatory T cells (Treg cells) are part of the system of checks and balances that prevents the immune response from going overboard and causing autoimmune disease. Although critically important for shaping ...

Jun 17, 2015
popularity 56 comments 0

Geographic factors can cause allergies, asthma

Those living near the equator may find themselves sneezing and wheezing more than usual. And the reason may not be due to increasing pollen counts. According to a new study released today, in the February issue of Annals of ...

Feb 04, 2013
popularity 0 comments 0

Desensitization therapy for peanut allergy

(Medical Xpress)—Families with peanut-allergic children live in fear that their child will ingest peanuts, even minute amounts, accidentally. Now, a small pilot study published in the Journal of Allergy an ...

Nov 27, 2013
popularity 0 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

Mammography benefits overestimated, review says

An in-depth review of randomised trials on screening for breast, colorectal, cervical, prostate and lung cancers, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, shows that the benefits of mammographic screening are li ...

Cutting health care costs isn't easy

Convincing the nation's most vulnerable citizens to avoid costly emergency department visits is proving harder than expected. A new study from the University of Iowa found improving access to affordable primary ...

Organ transplant rejection may not be permanent

Rejection of transplanted organs in hosts that were previously tolerant may not be permanent, report scientists from the University of Chicago. Using a mouse model of cardiac transplantation, they found that immune tolerance ...

Can four fish oil pills a day keep the doctor away?

Fish oil is one of the most popular dietary supplements in the U.S. because of the perceived cardiovascular benefits of the omega-3 it contains. However, scientific findings on its effectiveness have been conflicting. New ...