Table of Contents
- Allergy facts
- Allergy overview
- What is an allergy?
- What is an allergy? (Continued)
- What causes allergies?
- What causes allergies? (Continued)
- Who is at risk for allergies and why?
- What are common allergic conditions, and what are allergy symptoms and signs?
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Allergic eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- Hives (urticaria)
- Where are allergens?
- In the Air We Breathe
- In What We Ingest
- Touching Our Skin
- Injected Into Our Body
Quick GuideAllergy: What Happens in a Nasal Allergy Attack
Who is at risk for allergies and why?
Allergies can develop at any age, but most food allergies begin at a young age, and many are outgrown. Environmental allergies can develop at any time. The initial exposure or sensitization period may even begin before birth. Individuals can also outgrow allergies over time. It is not fully understood why one person develops allergies and another does not, but there are several risk factors for allergic conditions. Family history, or genetics, plays a large role, with a higher risk for allergies if parents or siblings have allergies. There are numerous other risk factors for developing allergic conditions. Children born via Cesarean section have a higher risk of allergy as compared to children who are delivered vaginally. Exposure to tobacco smoke and air pollution increases the risk of allergy. Boys are more likely to be allergic than girls. Allergies are more common in westernized countries, and less common in those with a farming lifestyle. Exposures to antigens, use of antibiotics, and numerous other factors, some of which are not yet known, also contribute to the development of allergies. This complicated process continues to be an area of medical research. Continue Reading
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American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Food allergy: a practice parameter. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006 Mar;96(3 Suppl 2):S1-68. No abstract available.
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Medically Reviewed By: Ellen Reich, MD, Board Certified in Allergy and Immunology, Board Certified in Pediatrics and Michael Manning, MD, of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.
5.iStock, Getty Images, iStock
6.Charles Daghlian, Getty Images/ScienceFoto, iStock
11.iStock, Color Atlas of Pediatric Dermatology Samuel Weinberg, Neil S. Prose, Leonard Kristal Copyright 2008, 1998, 1990, 1975, by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
19.Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility, Dartmouth College
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