Allergies: from mild itching to full-blown anaphylaxis
An allergy or an allergic reaction is an adverse immune reaction to a protein (or allergen) in our environment. This would normally be harmless to the non-allergic person.
The symptoms and signs of an allergic reaction can range from a mild itchy feeling to full-blown anaphylaxis and even death.
An allergy is believed to develop after repeated exposure to the allergen. The body becomes sensitised to the allergen at the initial exposure, but usually no adverse reaction tends to occur at that time. Some time later, however, or on repeated exposure to the allergen, a full-blown allergic reaction will develop.
There are a wide variety of substances that can cause allergic reactions. Some of the most common include:
- Food (especially peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish)
- Pollens and moulds
- Stinging insects
- Dust mites
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