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Allergies

What is an allergy? Besides frustrating, limiting and potentially fatal, an allergy is an immune system response that involves the IgE antibody. 

Learning about allergies is the key to keeping safe

Allergic reaction is the term given to the immune response some of us suffer when our bodies mistake normally harmless things as invading our bodies. It is normal for our bodies to try to identify and destroy dangerous invaders. But during an allergic reaction the particular antibody in charge of the attack, Immunoglobulin E (aka IgE) will use histamines and other chemicals which cause the allergic reaction.

 

Therefore an allergen is the enemy. In the battles within our bodies the enemy may be food, insect bites, dust mites, pollen, animal dander, medication, perfume, chemicals, etc.

 

So, to have an allergy, is to have an immune response to a normally harmless particle (allergen) that causes the release of exaggerated levels of histamines in your body (allergic reaction). Allergies are common and with constant vigilance can be managed. However, when a battle gets out of hand a severe reaction called anaphylactic shock (anaphylaxis) can occur and it can be fatal.

Symptoms

Symptoms of allergies include

  • wheezing
  • stomach upsets
  • skin rashes
  • Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock

Various sites on the body can be affected by an allergic reaction, including:

  • Eyes – itching, watering, swelling
  • Nose – stuffiness, sneezing
  • Mouth – itching, swelling
  • Throat – swelling
  • Digestive system (Gut) – stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Skin – rashes, such as hives (urticaria) 
  • Lungs – asthma
  • Central nervous system – headache, irritability, fatigue, convulsions

Avoidance of known allergens is the key to keeping reactions to a minimum.

Learn more about

Allergens | Reactions | Diagnosis | Treatments | Conditions

 


 

Additional Resources: 

AUSTRALASIAN SOCIETY OF CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY AND ALLERGY (ASCIA)
allergy.org.au

WORLD ALLERGY ORGANISATION (WAO)
worldallergy.org

BETTER HEALTH CHANNEL
betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Allergies