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GSE Allergies

What are Allergies?

An allergy is an over-reaction of the immune system (IS) in which normal body tissue is injured - normally protective components of the IS, antibodies, lymphocytes, and other cells, are involved in allergic reactions and also in autoimmune disease and organ transplant rejection. An allergic reaction usually refers to reactions that involve Immunoglobulin Class E (IgE) antibodies. IgE antibodies bind to certain IS cells, including basophils in the circulation and mast cells (histamine-releasing cells) in the lungs, skin, and mucous membranes. When IgE antibodies bound to IS cells encounter antigens (called allergens when involved with allergies), the cells are prompted to release chemicals that injure surrounding tissues causing inflammation.

Inflammation Information

Autoimmune Disorders

Typical allergens include - plant pollens, some fungi, house plants, mold spores / mildew, dust mites, animal dander, industrial chemicals / pollutants, tobacco smoke, perfume, chemicals in hair dye, foods, medicines and insect venom, that act as an antigen to stimulate an immune response.

Who gets allergies? –people any age, but:

–   Some more than others:

✔ Women with major depression more likely than women who are not depressed

✔ More common in men with nervous, anxious (i.e. Type A) personalities

✔ Those having psychological stress and anxiety - can make seasonal attacks worse and linger longer

–   People with allergies may face an increased risk of panic attacks –a 1995-96 household survey of > 3,000 US adults found that those who reported having hay fever also reported ~twice as many panic attacks.

Atopic allergies –when allergies tend to run in families, they are referred to as atopic allergies

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