What’s an Allergen and What Does It Do?
An allergen is simply any substance that can cause an allergic reaction. The immune system perceives the allergen, which is considered impure in nature, as a foreign invader and sends antibodies out to attack it.
The most common allergens include:
* Bacteria – non parasitic and parasitic (think: non-viral germs)
* Parasites – small bugs and animals such as dust mites and/or worms
* Chemicals – a variety of environmental and urban substances
* Dust – generally coming from the dust mites themselves. Often not released as a ‘toxic substance’ until lifted into air.
* Antibiotics – painkillers and scripts used for arthritis are often allergens as are medicines of the ‘cillin’ family. If you suspect a drug interaction or allergy, see your doctor immediately!!!!
* Food – common ones include peanuts, shrimp, gluten, dairy and certain fruits.
* Perfumes – can be triggered by the floral or Earth-based products as well as the chemicals used to recreate them.
* Plants – a variety of flowers, seeds and weeds including pigweed, ragweed and dandelions.
* Trees – oak, cedar, pine and more
* Pollen – a fine powder that combines the gametes from male plants via their seeded grains.
* Smoke – cigarette, industrial, fire, transportation, etc.
When a person comes into contact with an allergen, he or she can start to itch, wheeze, cough, swell and more.
That reaction is referred to as a type-1 hypersensitivity. Therefore, the reaction that is produced may not occur in the exact location that contact was made with the allergen. Therefore, if you breathe in some dust, for example, you may develop a skin rash.
During this sort of ‘attack’, Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is released. When that happens, the symptoms occur. IgE binds itself to the Fc receptors (protein covering certain cells such as found in the sinus cavity that helps protect the immune system). They interpret the substance as an invader and send off histamine response to fight.
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