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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

SWArticle: Allergies

<gies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom, or pet dander. The immune system produces proteins known as IgE antibodies. These antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could cause an infection or illness. Having allergies is the result of the immune system making antibodies that identify particular allergens as harmful, even though they are not to most people. This triggers the release of histamines and other substances that cause allergy symptoms.

    Allergy symptoms vary, and can involve the airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin and digestive system. In most cases, an allergic reaction is a nuisance that causes irritating but minor symptoms. Severe allergic reactions can be more dangerous because they are likely to involve several of the body’s organ systems. In some severe cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction in the body known as anaphylaxis.

    Allergy triggers are often found in day-to-day life, and can include airborne allergens, foods, insect stings, medications, and substances.  Common airborne allergens are pollen, animal dander, dust mites, and mold.  Food allergens are found most commonly in the form of peanuts, tree nut, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs and milk.  A common medicine allergen is penicillin or penicillin-based antibodies, and a substance that people are often allergic to is latex.

    Treatment for allergens also vary, but may include avoiding that trigger, medicine to reduce symptoms, or in emergencies, epinephrine.  Epinephrine shots are prescribed by doctors to be carried around daily for severe allergies, and work by reducing symptoms until emergency treatment is available. Allergy medications can help reduce your immune system reaction and ease symptoms, and can include over-the-counter and prescription medications.

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