What Is An Allergy?

Allergic skin reaction on the female neck and face - red rash

Normally your immune system’s lymphocytes (white blood cells) travel to all areas of the body scanning the exterior of proteins for chemical signatures. If it finds an invading protein, then the white blood cell returns to a lymph node in which it turns into a plasma cell and creates antibodies to ruin that specific protein.


An allergy sufferer has a genetic defect that causes the white blood cells to misidentify protein and overreact to a foreign substance. If a individual with a fish allergy eats fish, the white blood cells erroneously feel that the body has been invaded and produces many times more antibodies than are required to combat the invaders. Since there isn’t a true threat (and therefore nothing to attach ), within the next 7 to 10 days, the antibodies attach themselves to mast cells which store histamine.

This is called sensitizing to an allergen. Next time your body is subjected to this allergen, a cascading allergic reaction occurs. During a cascading reaction all the antibodies are triggered and ruin all of the mast cells they’re attached to, thus releasing an abnormally large about of histamine causing runny nose, itchy skin and other symptoms.


What Happens During An Allergic Reaction? The reaction is due to excessive amounts of histamine being discharged rapidly. Histamine attempts to defend the body by isolating the region with the allergen. Blood vessels shrink to decrease blood circulation. This may lead to drowsiness, unclear thinking and even organ failure. As the cells and blood vessels shrink, the gaps they leave fill with fluid causing swelling and soreness. This swelling can become severe enough to reduce sight, hearing, and breathing and make movement impossible or uncomfortable.

Skin contact with an allergen normally causes hives, itchiness and localized swelling. Airborne allergen contact frequently makes breathing difficult as the lungs and throat contract. The lack of oxygen can lead to drowsiness, make walking impossible, and may lead to death. The introduction of an allergen by means of blood frequently is the most acute. This can occur by a sting or food being digested. Blood can circulate through the body over 6 minutes, letting the allergen to come in touch with all organs.


What Can You Do To Avoid A Reaction?

  • Avoidance. The first and most important step is avoidance of the allergen. The more exposure you have, the more likely you should be sensitized and then have a more serious reaction. While it could be easy to prevent seafood, it is not for things like pollen. The next environmental things might help. Air filtering. A good air filter will reduce the amount of airborne allergens. If it’s an airborne problem, wear a surgical mask while it’s at its peak. The mask will filter out the vast majority of the pollen which would have been breathed in, thus reducing the impacts of the allergen. Remove carpets, maintain furniture slightly away from walls and increase airflow. Carpets catch all kinds of allergens that may get stirred up every time you walk around. Moving furniture away from the walls allows air to move throughout the home. If air doesn’t move freely, pockets of pollutants can build up in fresh areas. Ensure that your vacuum and furnace have great filters. Vacuums pull up a great deal of pollutants out of the carpet, so make certain they are captured. The furnace is the principal defense against airborne allergens, because it’s responsible for circulating air throughout the house.
  • Medication can greatly decrease the chance of allergic reaction in addition to containing them. Antihistamines, decongestants, cromolyn sodium, corticosteroids and epinephrine are examples of items that might help. Many individuals find taking an antihistamine once each day during pollen season is sufficient to alleviate their symptoms, if avoidance does not work.
  • Immunotherapy is the clinical introduction of the allergen on a regular basis and in raising larger doses. Immunotherapy is the closet thing there is to a cure for allergies. It has to be done regularly, is potentially risky and costly, but it may work.


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