Allergy

Studies examine trends in pain medication use

A new study reveals that acetaminophen use and over-dosing rise in cold/flu season in the United States, primarily due to increased use of over-the-counter combination medications treating upper respiratory symptoms. Another ...

Mar 08, 2018
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New molecular target could help ease asthma

Researchers at UC Davis Health and Albany Medical College have shown that the protein vascular endothelial growth factor A—or VEGFA—plays a major role in the inflammation and airway obstruction associated with asthma.

Mar 07, 2018
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Asthmatics show DNA changes in immune cells

Children with asthma have epigenetic DNA changes in certain cells of their immune system, a major international study involving researchers at Karolinska Institutet shows. The finding, which is presented in The Lancet Respiratory ...

Feb 26, 2018
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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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