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  • Writer's pictureMed Insider

Allergies

By Senna Rogoyski

Highlights

  • Allergic reactions occur as a reaction to foreign substances

  • There are many different assortments of allergies

What does having an allergy mean?


An allergy is the body’s reaction to unknown proteins and substances it faces. The immune system produces substances called antibodies. Antibodies are proteins created by a type of white blood cell known as plasma cells in reaction to an antigen, a foreign substance. They chemically combine with the antigens that the body recognizes in hopes of destroying the harmful substance. As a result of this process taking place, it tends to lead into different assortments of (allergic) reactions such as inflammation of skin, sinuses, and blocked airways depending on the immune system.

Although this process may seem harmful to the human body, having allergies and an allergic reaction is very common as it is the 6th leading cause of long-term illnesses in the United States. More than 50 million people in the United States have an allergic reaction each year.


Types of Allergies

There are many different types of allergies such as:

  • Food Allergies

  • Drug Allergies

Skin testing is often done to determine this as it is not very common.

  • Pollen Allergies

This allergy is one of the most common allergies to trigger reactions.

  • Insect Allergies

For stinging insects, bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets are the most common. For non-stinging insects, cockroaches and dust mites are most common.


  • Latex Allergies

As the material latex is extremely common in many stores, it tends to lead to a serious health risk.

  • Pet Allergies

The allergic reaction people get are caused by the fur of the pets leading to many people owning a hairless breed.

  • Mold Allergies

Since mold can form in many places and areas, these allergies can occur year round.


Causes


Although allergies can develop later on in adulthood, one of the main causes is genetics. If one of the parents is allergic, this leads to a 30 - 50% chance of their children developing the same allergy. However, there is a significant increase of 30% if both parents are allergic. Additionally, changes in the environment and surroundings can cause the creation of allergies at any point in one’s life.


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