Allergy - Basics

Allergy reflects an over-reaction (hyper-sensitivity) of the immune system to a normally harmless substance. Certain food items, plant pollen, bee stings, dust mites, and many other substances are called allergens because they can trigger an allergic reaction. The symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, coughing and itching. Allergic reactions range from mildly irritating to moderately bothersome to severely incapacitating. They may even prove fatal. Common allergens include grasses, molds, dust, animal dander, and some common food items such as milk, eggs, shell fish and wheat.

The allergy types typically seen are sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, urticaria, contact dermatitis; and reactions to food and insect stings.


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