Health

Being in the wrong place can set off an allergic reaction

Allergic reactions can occur without being triggered by an allergen such as grass or birch pollen—it is enough for the patient to be back in the same place where she was previously exposed to the allergen, as researchers ...

Immunology

Nasal smear as an allergy screening test

130 million people in Europe suffer from hay fever and other forms of allergic rhinitis. Until now, these conditions have typically been diagnosed using blood samples or skin prick tests. The latter method is often seen as ...

Immunology

Misleading allergy labelling puts lives at risk

Failing to declare allergens on food labels is a breach of regulations and can put lives at risk. The law relating to allergen labels was changed recently to reduce the risks to consumers. But recent cases of flawed and misleading ...

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Allergen

An allergen is a nonparasitic antigen capable of stimulating a type-I hypersensitivity reaction in atopic individuals.

Most humans mount significant Immunoglobulin E (IgE) responses only as a defense against parasitic infections. However, some individuals mount an IgE response against common environmental antigens. This hereditory predisposition is called atopy. In atopic individuals, non-parasitic antigens stimulate inappropriate IgE production, leading to type I hypersensitivity. Sensitivities vary from one person to another and it is possible to be allergic to an extraordinary range of substances.

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