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So Who Or What Is To Blame For My Allergies?

An allergic reaction is an overactive response of the immune system to triggers - or allergens - that provoke a series of events leading to inflammation or irritation of affected parts of the body.

The allergens that cause these reactions can come from a variety of sources. They can come from animal products, drugs, foods, insect stings, mould spores, plant pollens as well as other items like latex or metal.

The immune system is used to fight off "foreign invaders" - and it does this with a special protein known as an antibody. Unique antibodies are produced for specific invaders or "antigens" (meaning antibody generator). There are many classes of antibodies but only one - IgE (the "allergy antibody") is involved in allergic reactions.

An allergic reaction happens when your immune system misinterprets a harmless foreign substance and treats it as if it were harmful, creating a response that can vary from mild irritation to anaphylactic shock - which can be extremely dangerous.

To become allergic you must initially have a genetic predisposition to the allergy - so perhaps the first to be blamed are your parents. If your parents get hay-fever, there is a good chance that you will too. It then involves a primary and secondary exposure to the allergen.

The primary or initial exposure to the allergen sensitizes the body, special blood cells recognize the allergen as foreign. As a result, IgE antibodies are produced and circulate through the body - and these antibodies can remain in your system for years.

The secondary exposure results in the allergen binding directly with the antibody. The antibody is attached to mast cells and these cells then produce histamines. Histamines cause sneezing and increased production of mucous in the nasal cavity.

Food allergies are often confused with food intolerance. The difference between the two is best described by the presence of the IgE antibody - an intolerance can produce similar symptoms but will not produce an antibody.

Food allergies are often triggered by proteins in foods such as eggs, peanuts, fish, shellfish, and treenuts. In children, allergies are often caused by proteins from foods such as cows milk, wheat, soybeans. Chocolate, interestingly enough, rarely causes allergies in children.

Some people are allergic to many things, others to only one or two things. The differences between people can be caused by many factors including environment, genetics and the way the immune system works. For example, a person might have a predisposition to a particular allergy, but if they never receive the primary exposure, that allergy will not present itself.

Ed Sutherland is a successful Webmaster and publisher of AllergyTreatmentReviews.com. He provides more useful information on allergies, their treatments and information on finding the right treatment for you that you can research at your leisure on his website, http://www.allergytreatmentreviews.com

Source: www.articlesbase.com