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Your eyes itch, your nose is running, you're sneezing, and you're covered in hives. The enemy known as allergies has struck again — and all you want to do is curl up into a ball of misery.

There has to be something you can do to feel better. After all, doctors seem to have a cure for everything, right? Not for allergies. There are, however, ways to relieve allergy symptoms or avoid getting the symptoms, even though you can't actually get rid of the allergies themselves.

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people. When you're allergic to something, your immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harmful to your body. (Substances that cause allergic reactions, such as certain foods, dust, plant pollen, or medicines, are known as allergens.) In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system produces IgE antibodies to that allergen. Those antibodies then cause certain cells in the body to release chemicals into the bloodstream, one of which is histamine.

The histamine then acts on a person's eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract and causes the symptoms of the allergic reaction. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this antibody response again. This means that every time you come into contact with that allergen, you'll have an allergic reaction.

Allergic reactions can be mild, like a runny nose, or they can be severe, like difficulty breathing. An asthma attack, for example, is often an allergic reaction to something that is breathed into the lungs in a person who is susceptible.

Some types of allergies produce multiple symptoms, and in rare cases, an allergic reaction can become very severe — this severe reaction is called anaphylaxis. Some of the signs of anaphylaxis are difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat or other parts of the body, and dizziness or loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis usually occurs minutes after exposure to a triggering substance, such as a peanut, but some reactions may be delayed by as long as 4 hours. Luckily, anaphylactic reactions don't occur often, and they can be treated successfully if proper medical procedures are followed.

Why Do People Get Allergies?

The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed down through your genes. (Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad!) However, just because a parent or sibling might have allergies, that doesn't mean you will definitely get them, too. A person usually doesn't inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies.

What Are Some Things That People Are Allergic To?

Some of the most common allergens are:

Foods. Food allergies are most common in infants and often go away as a child gets older. Although some food allergies can be serious, many simply cause annoying symptoms like an itchy rash, a stuffy nose, and diarrhea. Most allergy specialists agree that the foods that people are most commonly allergic to are milk and other dairy products, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts, and seafood.

Insect bites and stings. The venom (poison) in insect bites and stings causes allergic reactions in many people. These allergies can be severe and may cause an anaphylactic reaction in some people.

Airborne particles. These are often called environmental allergens, and they're the most common allergens. Some examples of airborne particles that can cause allergies in people are dust mites (tiny bugs that live in house dust); mold spores; animal dander (flakes of scaly, dried skin, and dried saliva from your pets); and pollen from grass, ragweed, and trees.

Medicines. Antibiotics — medications used to treat infections — are the most common types of medicines that cause allergic reactions. Many other medicines, including over-the-counter medications (those you can buy without a prescription), can also cause allergic reactions.

Chemicals. Some cosmetics or laundry detergents can cause people to break out in an itchy rash (hives). Usually, this is because the person has a reaction to the chemicals in these products. Dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants can also cause allergic reactions in some people.

Links to allergy :
- WikiPedia
- Total Health


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