Allergies occur when your body comes into contact with a substance that it considers harmful. The immune system response to this “invader” is to produce antibodies, which in turn release chemicals (such as histamine) into the bloodstream in an attempt to protect the body. This reaction causes the symptoms that are associated with an allergic reaction.
There are many different types of allergies, and the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Some common allergens include pollen, dust mites, animal dander, certain food proteins (such as peanuts), and bee stings. People can also be allergic to medications, insect venom, and latex.
In some people, an allergic reaction can be severe and even life-threatening. This is known as anaphylaxis, and it can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, and a drop in blood pressure. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical treatment.
If you think you may have an allergy, it is important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Allergies can often be managed with the avoidance of allergen, medication, or immunotherapy.