All About Allergies

For most people, as the snows melt and spring appear it is a joyous occasion, but for others it bring with it a sense of dread as the summer can be all about allergies for them. The flowers start to bloom, baby animals are born everywhere, and a certain percentage of us are stuck inside, unable to breathe properly because of uncontrollable sneezing, or hardly able to see because of swollen itchy eyes. I’m talking of course about hay-fever which, amongst other allergies affects 40% of people on the planet.

What Are Allergies

An allergy is basically an overreaction of the immune system, specifically, of the white blood cells, or lymphocytes that act as receptors for the immune system. When a white blood cell detects something foreign tot he body it produces antibodies, proteins which will neutralize the threat of an antigen. Antigens are foreign invaders like parasites, bacteria or viruses.

When someone has allergies, their antibodies recognise allergens, enzymes known as antigenic proteins, as antigens, and produce an immune response whenever they come into contact with them. It is unknown entirely what causes some people to be allergic to some things but at least we know how to calm the immune system down if someone does suffer a serious allergic reaction.

What are We Allergic To and Why

Because we understand the nature of allergies, we can understand that certain things are more likely to provoke an overproduction of enzymes and some things should be fine. Around 90% of the worlds food allergies are caused by tree nuts, eggs, soy, peanuts, fish, shellfish milk or wheat. These things all contain components which could send the immune system into overdrive.

The severity of an allergic reaction depends on different factors, which explains why some people go into anaphylactic shock after eating something, but another person could just get a scratchy throat. It depends on how much of the allergen is in the body, how many lymphocytes are attached to it and how hard they are working to produce enzymes that will kill it.