An allergy refers to an exaggerated reaction by the immune system in response to exposure to few foreign substances. The response is exaggerated because these foreign substances are mainly seen by the body as harmless in nonallergic things and do not react as responsive in them. In allergic persons, the body recognizes the foreign substance, and the allergic part of the immune system creates a response.
Allergy-producing substances are called “allergens.” Examples of allergens include pollens, dust mites, molds, animal proteins, foods, and medications. When an allergic person comes in contact with an allergen, the immune system creates a response through the IgE antibody. People who are prone to allergies are said to be allergic.
- Approximately 10%-30% of individuals in the industrialized world are affected by allergic conditions, and this number is increasing.
- Allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies) affects roughly 20% of Americans. Between prescription costs, physician visits, and missed days of work/school, the economic burden of allergic disease exceeds $3 billion annually.
- Asthma affects roughly 8%-10% of Americans. The estimated health costs for asthma exceed approximately $20 billion annually.
- Food allergies affect roughly 3%-6% of children in the United States, and roughly 1%-2% of adults in the
- The prevalence of allergic conditions has increased significantly over the last two decades and continues to rise.
What Are the Symptoms?
If you’ve got a nasal or skin allergy, common symptoms include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itchy, runny nose
- Feeling tired or ill
- Hives (a rash with raised red patches)