Allergies

What is an Allergy?

The topic of allergies has become routine in our lives, and certainly most everyone has an idea of what an allergy is. Allergies are so common a subject in fact, it seems acceptable to discuss your allergies at a cocktail party with strangers.

An allergy is an abnormal reaction by a person’s immune system against a normally harmless substance. A person without allergies would have no reaction to this substance, but when a person who is allergic encounters the trigger, the body reacts by releasing chemicals which cause allergy symptoms. However, just because there is a cause and effect between exposure to a substance and the development of symptoms does not always mean that a person is allergic to that substance. For example, medications have known and expected side effects; a person experiencing one of these side effects is not necessarily allergic to that medication.

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