Allergies – what are they?
An allergy occurs as a result of a person’s immune system reacting to something in the environment that is usually of no harm to others. These substances are known as Allergens. Examples of allergens include dust mites, pets, insects, moulds and foods.
When a person has an allergic reaction to a substance, it triggers an antibody response and our body produces histamine. When histamine is released, the body may show signs of swelling and inflammation which becomes uncomfortable.
Around 1 in 3 people will develop an allergy at some point in their life. The most common allergic reactions in Australia include: dust mites, pollen, foods (peanuts, cow’s milk, soy, and seafood), furry/hairy animals, insects, moulds and medicines.
When a person experiences an allergy, the symptoms they experience will vary.
- An inhaled allergen may irritate the nose, causing itching and sneezing and eye watering.
- An ingested allergen may cause eczema, asthma, colic and stomach upset and in some causes failure to thrive.
- Some allergens also cause dry, red, and itching skin, as well as hives.