Allergy

A cough that won't quit—is it lung cancer?

Coughing removes particles, mucus, irritants or fluids from the lungs. It may be caused by something in the air, such as cooking fumes, perfume or spices, or it may be related to congestion caused by a cold, allergies or ...

Dec 15, 2017
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Coarse particulate matter may increase asthma risk

Children exposed to coarse particulate matter may be more likely to develop asthma and to be treated in an ER or be hospitalized for the condition, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society's ...

Dec 15, 2017
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Tips for healthy, happy travels

(HealthDay)—Buying new clothes for an upcoming holiday trip may top your to-do list, but packing the right medications can mean addressing health needs with ease rather than scrambling to find an all-night drugstore in ...

Dec 12, 2017
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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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