Suffering from Allergies?
An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to substances that are otherwise harmless, causing respiratory, skin and systemic diseases. The most common allergic reaction comes in the form of respiratory symptoms caused by airborne particles such as grass or pollen. For most people these tiny particles are insignificant, but for people with allergies, they can trigger seasonal or chronic respiratory conditions, such as hay fever or allergic asthma.
Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, the risk of getting a new allergy increases with the number of allergies already present. Disease severity may also increase. For example, rhinitis is a risk factor for asthma, and at least 60% of asthma patients also suffer from allergic rhinitis.
Allergic Symptoms and Reactions
Allergic symptoms are triggered by exposure to allergens in sensitized individuals. An allergy is specific in the sense that only allergens to which the individual is sensitized provoke symptoms.
The most important allergens are the most common proteins present on airborne particles in the air we breathe. The particles are inhaled and upon contact with the moist surface of the airway mucosa, proteins are extracted and come into contact with the immune system. Allergen exposure can also occur through the gastrointestinal tract or through the skin. For example, bee and wasp allergens are present in the venoms of the insects and come into contact with the immune system after injection into the body.