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Updated on August 28, 2009

What causes Allergies

Some people are sensitive to certain substances such as some particular food items, animal hair, plant pollen, chemicals, dust, or almost anything on earth. These may enter a person’s body when one eats or inhales or touches them. When any of the substances don’t “agree” with the person’s body system he feels uncomfortable or even sick. Hay fever, skin rash, some types of asthma reaction to certain medicines and injections are some of the more commonly seen forms of allergies.

Human bodies have been provided with certain ‘powers’ to fight infections and illnesies. When some harmful infection enters the body, certain cells in the body begin to produce chemicals “antibodies” to fight it.

When a person is allergic to certain substance, a similar reaction takes place inside the body cells, that is, they start producing antibodies. And in the process, unpleasant reactions – fever, rash, itching, fluctuation in blood pressure, breathing problems, etc. – are produced. This happens because the antibodies combine with the foreign substance and produce other chemicals, called “histamines”. These histamines disturb the mucous membranes, blood, lungs, skin, or other body organs.

Scientists have developed drugs which can be used to treat allergies of different types and these are called antihistamines because they block the activity of histamine. But it is still not explained why one person is allergic to one thing and not the other!


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