Immunology

Food allergies can strike at any age

(HealthDay)—You might be surprised to learn that food allergies can start in adulthood and involve a food you've eaten without a problem for your entire life.

Immunology

Sniffles and sneezes: A Q&A about allergies with Dr. Ryan Steele

With allergy season upon us, YaleNews spoke to Dr. Ryan Steele, instructor of clinical medicine at Yale School of Medicine, about the current season, prevention, treatments, and other facts allergy sufferers need to know. ...

Immunology

Fishy diagnostics for food allergy testing

James Cook University scientists in Australia have found material commonly used for fish allergy testing is unreliable—potentially putting lives at risk.

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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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