What is an allergy?
An allergy is the response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances, such as pollens, foods, and house dust mite. Whilst in most people these substances (allergens) pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a’ threat’ and produces an inappropriate response. Common symptoms associated with allergic conditions include:
- sinus pain
- runny nose
- nettle rash / hives
- itchy eyes, ears, lips throat and mouth
- shortness of breath
- sickness, vomiting & diarrhoea
- increase in nasal and airway secretions
What is causing your allergy?
Allergic reactions are caused by substances in the environment known as allergens. Almost anything can be an allergen for someone. Proteins are organic substances which contain hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, and form an important part of all living organisms. There are also found in food, along with fats, carbohydrates and other substances. However, only proteins can cause true allergic reactions.
The most common causes of allergic reactions are:
- pollen from trees and grasses
- proteins secreted from house dust mites
- foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs
- pets such as cats and dogs, and other furry or hairy animals such as horses, rabbits and guinea pigs
- insects such as wasps and bees
- medicines (these may cause reactions by binding to proteins in the blood, which then trigger the reaction)