Immunology

Q&A: What patients should know about fall and winter allergies

As we transition into colder months, fall and winter allergy sufferers may notice a change in their quality of life. If you're wondering whether or not you or your child have fall or winter allergies, here are some signs ...

Immunology

Nearly one in five parents of food-allergic children are bullied

Parents of children with food allergies find their children are often bullied by classmates, as well as parents of other children and teachers. A new study being presented at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, ...

Immunology

Food allergies take a greater emotional toll on Asian families

Studies have shown that food allergies negatively affect the quality of life of those who suffer with them. A new study being presented at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mothers pass on allergies to offspring, preclinical study shows

Mothers can pass allergies to offspring while they are developing in the womb, researchers from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) and Duke-NUS Medical School ...

Genetics

Insights into the genetic architecture of penicillin allergy

Researchers announce the first robust evidence for the role of the major histocompatibility complex gene HLA-B in penicillin allergy. To identify genetic risk factors for penicillin allergy, the international team of researchers ...

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Allergy

Allergy is a disorder of the immune system often also referred to as atopy. Allergic reactions occur to normally harmless environmental substances known as allergens; these reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid. Strictly, allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is called type I (or immediate) hypersensitivity. It is characterized by excessive activation of certain white blood cells called mast cells and basophils by a type of antibody known as IgE, resulting in an extreme inflammatory response. Common allergic reactions include eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma, food allergies, and reactions to the venom of stinging insects such as wasps and bees.

Mild allergies like hay fever are highly prevalent in the human population and cause symptoms such as allergic conjunctivitis, itchiness, and runny nose. 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 anaphylactic reactions and potentially death.

A variety of tests now exist to diagnose allergic conditions; these include testing the skin for responses to known allergens or analyzing the blood for the presence and levels of allergen-specific IgE. Treatments for allergies include allergen avoidance, use of anti-histamines, steroids or other oral medications, immunotherapy to desensitize the response to allergen, and targeted therapy.

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