Immunology

Cracks in the skin of eczema patients promote allergic diseases

Infants who develop eczema are more likely to develop food allergies, hay fever and asthma as they grow older, a progression known as the atopic march. Donald Leung, MD, Ph.D., head of Pediatric Allergy & Clinical Immunology ...

Immunology

Should you try allergen immunotherapy?

(HealthDay)—If you're constantly sneezing and sniffling even though you take allergy medication to relieve symptoms, you may want to consider immunotherapy.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Pollen allergies occur more frequently in anxiety sufferers

Seasonal allergies to different types of grass or tree pollen are more common in people with anxiety disorders, while patients with depression are more likely to suffer from perennial allergies triggered by allergens such ...

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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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