How does allergy affect the body?There are many types of allergies affecting different parts of the body. Allergy symptoms occur when the immune system reacts to irritants such as pets or pollens, also called an allergen.
When you’re exposed to an allergen, the immune system mistakenly believes that the substance is harmful to your body and starts the production of immunoglobulin antibodies (IgE) against it. When the IgE antibodies combine with the allergen and other specialised cells of the immune system, they release a chemical called histamine. Histamine is a substance in the body that causes allergy symptoms such as swelling, sneezing and irritated eyes.
Typical allergic reactionsSymptoms from allergies range from reactions on your skin like rashes, hives and eczema, to internal reactions like an upset stomach, wheezing, headaches and difficulty breathing. If the allergen is something you breathe in from the air, it will most likely affect your eyes, nose and lungs.
Common symptoms of respiratory allergies are blocked and running nose, sneezing, shortness of breath, itchy and watery eyes, and inflamed eyelids. Symptoms may be seasonal (hay fever) or year-round. Allergic asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airway that causes symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing.
Since symptoms from allergies can range in severity, it’s important to talk to your doctor about any reactions you may experience.
Important factsA person with allergy has increased blood levels of immunoglobulin antibodies (IgE)
Almost half a billion people suffer from rhinitis worldwide, and approximately 230 million from asthma
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