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Allergy is a condition caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to something in the environment that usually will cause little or no problem in other people. Common allergens, are certain food items, dust, pollen, insect stings and certain medications. Allergens can be inhaled (pollens, dust, moulds, fungi, animal dander), eaten (egg white, milk, nuts, shrimps, fish, wheat or rice), injected (bee stings or drugs) or they can come into contact with the skin or eyes (dust, pollens, animal dander, moulds).
Sensitivity to allergens can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. When a person comes in contact to an allergen, the Immunoglobin-E antibodies (IgE) within the person’s body binds the allergen and delivers it to a receptors called basophils. This triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine causing reactions such as inflammation, itching, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and shortness of breath.
Diagnosis of allergies involves taking a person medical history and in some case, testing skin and blood samples.
Although medications such as antihistamines and steroids may help in suppressing allergies, the most prescribed treatment is however, to avoid the allergens by the person diagnosed with the allergy.