Allergies are a specific reaction of the body’s immune system to a normally harmless substance, such as pollen, food, or medicines. Allergies can either be seasonal (occurring at specific times of the year) or perennial (occurring year-round). Research scientists do not know for sure why one person develops allergies and another person does not, although it is believed that allergies may be inherited.

How do I know that I have allergies, and how should I know all about allergies?

In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system of the allergic person produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Those antibodies then cause mast cells and basophils (allergy cells in the body) to release chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen “invader.” Symptoms of allergies can range from mild ones (itching, sneezing, or eczema) to more severe ones (hives, wheezing, and shortness of breath).

Who Gets Allergies?

A child who is allergic to one substance is likely to be allergic to others as well. Up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, have some type of allergy.  To avoid yourself from the danger of allergies, you have to understand all about allergies.

Learning about allergies:  What Causes the Sneezing and Wheezing?

You can be allergic to many things. Some of the common allergens include: dust mites (tiny insects that live in dust), a protein found in the dander (dry skin), saliva (spit), urine (pee), or other things from some animals, grass, flower, and tree pollen (the fine dust from plants), mold and mildew (small living things that grow in damp places), foods, such as milk, wheat, soy, eggs, nuts, seafood, and legumes (say: leh-gyooms), which include peas, beans, and peanuts, latex (stretchy stuff that some of the gloves doctors and dentists use are made of).

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