What are Allergies?
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
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.
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
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
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
Atopic allergies – when allergies tend to run in
families, they are referred to as atopic allergies
Why the Allergies?
Hygiene Hypothesis - proposes that the increase in allergic diseases,
including asthma, atopic dermatitis, and atopic rhinitis in many developed
countries is through the lack of early exposure to bacteria
Sinus Sensitivity and Allergies
Certain people have
sensitivity to things in the environment and to the foods they eat -
This sensitivity triggers a dilation of blood vessels in the nose, and sometimes
releases chemicals from cells in the nose that cause swelling.
Increased herbicides, digestive problems and
Farmers use nearly double the amount of herbicide
on GM soy compared to non-GM soy - higher
herbicide residues might cause reactions.
GM soy reduces digestive enzymes in mice -
If proteins “digest” slowly in humans,
there is more time for allergic reactions (possibly to
many food proteins).
Hair dyes are a common cause of itching and skin
(PPD) - although you can
develop an allergy to many ingredients in hair coloring, the chemical PPD is the
most likely culprit. PPD has been a major component of most hair-coloring
products used in the western world since the 1880s and has caused problems
almost since it was first developed, according to the American Contact
Dermatitis Society--which named PPD as its "allergen of the year" in 2006.
Because of its potential to cause an allergic reaction, PPD was banned in
Sweden, France and Germany for most of the last century (it re-entered the
market after the formation of the European Union). PPD remains popular as a
permanent dye because it produces a natural color that doesn’t fade with
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