Allergy (Allergies)

  • Medical Author:
    Allison Ramsey, MD

    Dr. Allison Ramsey earned her undergraduate degree at Colgate University and her medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She completed her internal medicine training at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and remained at the university to complete her fellowship training in allergy and clinical immunology. Dr. Ramsey is board certified in internal medicine and allergy and immunology. Her professional interests include the treatment of drug allergy and eosinophilic disorders. She also enjoys teaching medical trainees. She is a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the New York State Allergy Society, and the Finger Lakes Allergy Society. In her personal life, her interests include exercise, especially running and horseback riding; and spending time with her husband and two children.

  • Coauthor: Syed Shahzad Mustafa, MD
    Syed Shahzad Mustafa, MD

    After growing up in the Rochester area, Dr. Mustafa pursued his undergraduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and attended medical school at SUNY Buffalo. He then completed his internal medicine training at the University of Colorado and stayed in Denver to complete his fellowship training in allergy and clinical immunology at the University of Colorado, National Jewish Health, and Children's Hospital of Denver.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Peanut Allergy Symptoms and Signs

Types of peanut allergy symptoms: About 80%-90% of reactions involve skin manifestations such as

  • a rash, including hives,
  • redness,
  • itching.

Nevertheless, reactions can occur in the absence of a rash, and these reactions may be the most severe.

Quick GuideNasal Allergy Attacks Pictures: What Happens During an Attack

Nasal Allergy Attacks Pictures: What Happens During an Attack

Allergy facts

  • Allergy involves an exaggerated response of the immune system, often to common substances such as foods or pollen.
  • The immune system is a complex system that normally defends the body against foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, while also surveying for abnormal changes in an individual’s own cells, such as cancer.
  • Allergens are substances that are foreign to the body and that cause an allergic reaction.
  • IgE is the allergic antibody.
  • Although many individuals outgrow allergies over time, allergies can also develop at any age, including during adulthood.
  • While the environment plays a role in the development of allergy, there is a greater risk of developing allergic conditions if a person has a family history of allergy, especially in parents or siblings.

Allergy overview

This is a review regarding how the allergic response of the immune system occurs and why certain people become allergic. The most common allergic diseases are described, including allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies), allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergies), allergic asthma, urticaria (hives), and food allergies.

What is an allergy?

An allergy refers to an exaggerated reaction by the immune system in response to exposure to certain foreign substances. The response is exaggerated because these foreign substances are normally seen by the body as harmless in nonallergic individuals and do not cause a response in them. In allergic individuals, the body recognizes the foreign substance, and the allergic part of the immune system generates a response.

Allergy-producing substances are called "allergens." Examples of allergens include pollens, dust mites, molds, animal proteins, foods, and medications. When an allergic individual comes in contact with an allergen, the immune system mounts a response through the IgE antibody. People who are prone to allergies are said to be allergic or "atopic."

Reviewed on 1/13/2017
References
REFERENCES:

Fiocchi A, Assa'ad A, Bahna S; Adverse Reactions to Foods Committee; American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. "Food allergy and the introduction of solid foods to infants: a consensus document. Adverse Reactions to Foods Committee, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology." Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 97.1 July 2006:10-20; quiz 21, 77.

Price D, Bond C, Bouchard J, Costa R, Keenan J, Levy ML, Orru M, Ryan D, Walker S, Watson M. "International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) Guidelines: management of allergic rhinitis." Prim Care Respir J 15.1 Feb. 2006: 58-70. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "Food allergy: a practice parameter." Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 96(3 Suppl 2) Mar. 2006: S1-68. No abstract available.

Flinterman AE, Pasmans SG, Hoekstra MO, Meijer Y, van Hoffen E, Knol EF, Hefle SL, Bruijnzeel-Koomen CA, Knulst AC. Determination of no-observed-adverse-effect levels and eliciting doses in a representative group of peanut-sensitized children. J Allergy Clin Immunol 117.2 Feb. 2006: 448-54.

Scibilia J, Pastorello EA, Zisa G, Ottolenghi A, Bindslev-Jensen C, Pravettoni V, Scovena E, Robino A, Ortolani C. "Wheat allergy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in adults." J Allergy Clin Immunol 117.2 Feb. 2006: 433-9. IMAGES:

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