WHAT IS AN ALLERGY?

An allergy is your body’s overreaction to something that doesn’t cause a problem for most people.  One of the marvels of the human body is its ability to defend itself against harmful invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.  With allergies, your body’s immune system works too well and overreacts by attacking harmless things such as dust, molds or pollen.  The body treats these as invaders and releases chemicals to defend itself.  It is these chemicals that cause allergic symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Sometimes the symptoms are just annoying.  Sometimes they are deadly.

WHAT STARTS THE REACTION?

There are hundreds of ordinary things that can trigger an allergic reaction.  These are called “allergens.” Some of the most common are plant pollens, molds, household dust (dust mites), cockroaches, pets, chemicals, foods, medicines, feathers and insect stings.

IS THERE ANY ESCAPE?

A common question from allergic rhinitis sufferers is: Can I move someplace where my allergies will go away? Some allergens are tough to escape.  Ragweed, which affects 75 percent of allergic sufferers, blankets most of the United States.

Allergists seldom recommend moving to another locale as a cure for allergies.  A person may escape one allergy to ragweed, for example, only to develop sensitivity to grasses or other allergens in the new location.  Since moving can have a disrupting effect on a family financially and emotionally, relocation should be considered only in an extreme situation and only after consultation with an allergist.

 

Information provided by ACAAI (American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)

Medical Disclaimer: The information contained on the Chicagoland Allergy web site is presented for the purpose of educating people about allergic conditions. Nothing contained on this web site should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.