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Allergies


Description

Allergies are caused by the immune systemÕs over-reaction to everyday substances, which the body identifies as foriegn invaders. The invaders are not viruses or bacteria. They are harmless substances: pollens, dust, mold spores or harmless microscopic bugs called dust mites that live in carpets, clothing and bedding. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis), one of the most common allergies, is triggered by pollens.

Standard medical treatment for allergies involves taking decongestants and antihistamines. Decongestants open clogged nasal passages and have drying action. Antihistamines suppress the body's release of histamine. Decongestants can cause insomnia and raise blood pressure. Antihistamines may cause drowsiness. Both may lose effectiveness after a while. They also interfere with, and according to some experts, weaken--the immune system.

The acute allergic response is mediated by IgE receptors on mast cells that respond to specific antigens, such as dust or pollen. The antigen (foreign particle) and antibody unite and initiate a cascade of events in the mast cell culminating in its degranulation and production of inflammatory mediators including histamine, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, proteases and platelet activating factor

An immediate symptomatic response occurs followed by a more prolonged, persistent late phase reaction. This involves the infiltration into the reactive region of eosinophils, neutrophils, basophils and mononuclear cells.

Causes

Allergies are caused by the immune systemÕs over-reaction to everyday substances, which the body identifies as foriegn invaders. The invaders are not viruses or bacteria. They are harmless substances: pollens, dust, mold spores or harmless microscopic bugs called dust mites that live in carpets, clothing and bedding. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis), one of the most common allergies, is triggered by pollens.

Conventional Labs

A complete blood count with show eosinophilia. Epicutaneous (prick or puncture) allergy skin tests are useful in documenting IgE mediated immunologic hypersensitivity.Radioallergosorben (RAST) testing can also detect specific IgE antibodies to offending foods.

 

 

 

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