Allergy

Tips for surviving this spring's allergy season

April showers may bring the loveliness of May flowers, but, for some, the pollen that accompanies those flowers is an unwelcomed tagalong to warmer weather. Pollen, a fine yellowish powder transported from plant to plant ...

Apr 28, 2016
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When do allergy shots become necessary?

The beauty of spring is upon us, but as lovely as it may be to look at, it can wreak havoc in your nose, throat and eyes. The higher the pollen count, the greater the misery.

Apr 12, 2016
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Migration clue to nut allergy

Australian-born children with Asian mothers have higher rates of nut allergy than Asian-born children who migrate to Australia, new research has found.

Feb 17, 2016
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Want spring allergy relief? Avoid stress

Stress doesn't cause allergies, but easing your mind might mean less allergy flare-ups this spring. According to a study published in the April issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the ...

Apr 01, 2014
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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 and Clinical Immunology ...

Nov 27, 2013
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You can have a food allergy, and eat it too

Have food allergies? If you answered yes, you know the best way to prevent a severe allergic reaction is to totally avoid the offending food. But according to a presentation at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American ...

Nov 08, 2013
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Holiday health: Asthma with a side of allergies

People with asthma traveling to pet friendly homes for the holidays may want to pack allergy medication along with their inhaler. A study being presented this week at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's ...

Nov 08, 2013
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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

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