When allergic reaction occurs your immune system is actually trying to protect you. Normally, your immune system combats against the attack of viruses, fungi and infectious bacteria. But, sometimes, it mistakes a harmless substanceóan allergenóas one of these enemy microorganisms. The immune system responds by producing antibodies that attack the substance. This production of immunoglobulin antibodies react specifically to the thing youíre allergic too, and continue to react every time youíre exposed to that substance. Your cells also produce histamine, as well as other chemicals, to battle the allergen. These chemicals are mainly responsible for the symptoms you experience, including but not limited to swelling, an itchy rash, a runny nose, or watery eyes. Allergic reactions manifest themselves in many ways: asthma, pink eye, dermatitis, upset stomach, allergic rhinitis a.k.a. hay fever, etc. Hay fever is among the most common and well-known types of allergic reactions. Hay fever irritates the nose and sinuses. In some cases itís seasonaló due to airborne pollens released in spring and summer. In other cases, hay fever haunts a person year-round, if the person is exposed to ever-present allergens like dust mites or pet dander. Almost anything can cause an allergic reaction, but common allergens include tree pollen; dust and dust mites; foods like peanuts, milk, eggs, shellfish, wheat, and soy; insect bites; pharmaceuticals; cosmetics; dyes; and certain plants.
The severity of a personís allergic reaction depends on the amount of the allergen theyíre exposed to, and their bodyís reaction and the production of antibodies. What also plays a crucial factor in the degree of allergic reaction is the type of allergen. For instance, insect bites and food allergies can sometimes produce one of the most severe types of allergic reaction, anaphylaxis. In the case of an anaphylactic reaction, the patientís throat swells up and blocks their airway, warranting emergency treatment. In between mild and severe allergic reactions, fall large local reactions. One example of a large local reaction would be, getting stung by a bee on your hand and experiencing swelling from your fingertips up to your elbow or shoulder. This is a pretty dramatic reaction, but it is not nearly as serious as a systemic reaction, which affects and potentially endangers your major organs. An allergy suffer may endure any combination of symptoms, so that minor symptoms do not necessarily preclude serious ones, and vice versa. Whether an allergic reaction is severe, mild, or somewhere in between, it is essentially an immune system disorder; your immune systems fails recognize a harmless substance as such, and inappropriately launches into attack mode.
Most allergies are developed during childhood. Some children even outgrow their allergies. Although itís slightly less common, a person can develop a new allergy at any time, even during adulthood. Allergies do not discriminate. They can plague a person of any race, gender, or age. Both heredity and environment play a role in a personís susceptibility. Some medical theories even point to hormones and stress as a factor in increasing the risk of allergic reaction.