What Are Allergies?
When your body senses an intruder, it fights back with reactions designed to remove the foreign objects from the body.
If you breathe in something you shouldn’t, you’ll cough or sneeze to get it out of your lungs. If a bit of sand got into your eye, your eyes would water to wash it away. If you ate something poisonous, your stomach would reject it.
And these are just the most obvious reactions your body has when it feels that it’s being invaded. There are all sort of chemical reactions, too, that you can’t see — but they an make you feel miserable.
Unfortunately, your body sometimes responds to ordinary things in your environment as if they were dangerous. Pollen, insect bites or stings, mold, dust or dust mites, animal dander, ordinary foods, medicines, cleaning products and other household chemicals — any of these things may trigger an allergy attack.
Allergic reactions most often show up in the parts of your body that have the most immune system cells ready to fight off invaders: your eyes, nose, and throat, your skin, your stomach, your lungs. These are the parts of the body that most easily come into contact with foreign objects, so they’re most ready to respond.
Who Develops Allergies or Asthma?
Asthma and allergies can affect all of us. They do seem to have a hereditary component — they run in families — and they are most common in children, but they can appear at any time.
Sometimes, environmental factors play a role. Things like smoke, perfume, or even stress can lead to an allergic reaction.
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