Allergy

More genetic clues found in a severe food allergy

Scientists have identified four new genes associated with the severe food allergy eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Because the genes appear to have roles in other allergic diseases and in inflammation, the ...

Nov 21, 2014
popularity 4.7 / 5 (3) | comments 0

A new pathway discovered regulating autoimmune diseases

The main function of the immune system is to protect against diseases and infections. For unknown reasons our immune system attacks healthy cells, tissues and organs in a process called autoimmunity, which can result in diseases ...

Oct 07, 2014
popularity 4.7 / 5 (21) | comments 0

Scientists discover pain receptor on T-cells

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that T-cells – a type of white blood cell that learns to recognize and attack microbial pathogens – are activated by a pain receptor.

Oct 05, 2014
popularity 5 / 5 (11) | comments 1

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

Mutant protein takes babies' breath away

Babies start breathing in the womb, inhaling and exhaling irregularly at first, and then gradually more and more, until the day when they're born and have to do it all the time. But premature babies sometimes ...

Can robots help stop the Ebola outbreak?

The US military has enlisted a new germ-killing weapon in the fight against Ebola—a four-wheeled robot that can disinfect a room in minutes with pulses of ultraviolet light.

Suicide risk falls substantially after talk therapy

Repeat suicide attempts and deaths by suicide were roughly 25 percent lower among a group of Danish people who underwent voluntary short-term psychosocial counseling after a suicide attempt, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

US looking past Ebola to prepare for next outbreak

The next Ebola or the next SARS. Maybe even the next HIV. Even before the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is brought under control, U.S. public health officials are girding for the next health disaster.