Normally, the body is able to defend itself from dangerous things like viruses and bacteria. However, in some people, the body tries to defend itself against non-harmful substances like dust and pollen. In this defense effort, the body make immunoglobulin antibodies. These antibodies are then sent to work when exposed to the harmless substance. This causes a range of symptoms that may be unpleasant or even life-threatening in some cases.
Thousands of different things can cause allergic reactions. Some of the more common allergens include pollen, mold, dust, animal dander, some types of food, some medications, and insect stings.
Allergic reactions can happen at any place on the body. They most often appear on the skin, in the nose, in the eyes, in the throat, in the sinuses, and in the lungs. All of these places tend to experience an allergic reaction, as these are the areas where immune system cells normally fight off bacteria and viruses.
People of any age can have allergies, and allergies don't discriminate when it comes to race and gender. It appears that children are more vulnerable to allergic reactions than adults. Allergies appear to have a genetic component, so people with one or more close relatives who suffer from allergies are more likely to develop allergies themselves.
There are several testing methods for allergies. Intradermal skin tests are also called prick tests. Tiny drops of allergen extracts are placed in punctures on the patient's arm to observe reactions in this test. Patch testing is done for suspected skin allergies. In this test, many different potential allergens are placed in patches on the skin so the reaction can be checked.
There are a variety of treatments for allergies, including medication and allergy shots. Treatment for allergic reactions is customized for the individual.