Allergy is an over-reaction of the body when it comes in contact with certain foreign substances. It is also referred to as atopy and immediate hypersensitivity. It is acquired, which means that this medical condition has developed post-fetally and predictable, which means that its symptoms are known commonly. Its symptoms come about rapidly, which explains why it is called immediate hypersensitivity. The foreign substances which cause allergies are known as allergens. The foreign substances are seen as harmless by the immune systems of normal people but harmful by the immune systems of allergic people. Allergens come in all shapes and sizes including dust particles, pollens, different types of foods etc. Different allergens are attributed to cause specific allergies in allergic people.
The root cause of an allergy is the disproportionally high activation of specific white blood cells called mast cells and basophils. They are activated by a type of antibody known as IgE. The activation results in an inflammatory response in different parts of the body such as a running nose in the case of a Hay fever. There are many allergies known today but some of the common are hay fever, asthma attack, food allergies, hives etc. Allergies range from mild to severe types. Hay fever for example is a common allergy which is widespread in the human population. Asthma attacks on the other hand are severe allergies and are known to cause serious consequences and even death.
Thanks to medical science, today we have many tests which can diagnose conditions that represent an allergy. These test can be skin based, which means that the skin of a person is tested to see if it responds to different known allergens. These tests can also be blood based. In this the blood of a person is analyzed to see the presence and level of the antigen called IgE. The treatments for allergies are diverse like the conditions themselves. For prevention purposes patients are advised to avoid the allergen altogether. They are also advised to take oral medication such as anti-histamines and different steroids. There are also many therapies available for combating these conditions.