An allergy is an abnormally high sensitivity to certain substances, such as pollens, molds, dust mites, pets. Common indications of allergy may include sneezing, itching, and skin rashes. An allergy refers to an exaggerated reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. It is exaggerated because these foreign substances are usually seen by the body as harmless and no response occurs in non- allergic people. Allergic people's bodies recognize the foreign substance and one part of the immune system is turned on. Allergy-producing substances are called "allergens”.
When an allergen comes in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in persons who are allergic to it. When you inappropriately react to allergens that are normally harmless to other people, you are having an allergic reaction and can be referred to as allergic or atopic. Therefore, people who are prone to allergies are said to be allergic or "atopic."
WHAT CAUSES ALLERGIC REACTIONS?
Substances that cause the most allergic reactions include pollen, mold, dust mites, and pets.
POLLEN. Pollen allergy also known as hay fever occurs seasonally—in the spring, summer, and fall—when tress, weeds, and grasses release tiny particles, called pollen, which are carried through the air. Some trees also produce allergenic pollen. Few people are allergic to flowers. In fact, most people have little contact with the pollen of flowering plants, which is carried by insects, not the wind.
MOLD. Molds are part of the fungus family, and their spores can produce allergic reactions when inhaled. Mold is most common in damp basements, trays, houseplants, mattresses, barns, compost piles, and outdoor areas that are moist and shady.
DUST MITES. Dust mites are microscopic organisms in the dust found in all homes and workplaces. These mites can live in beddings and carpets. House dust, which is made up of a number of materials; contain dead dust mites and their waste products. It is these waste products that cause the allergic reaction.
PETS. Researchers have found out that the major allergens found in pets are proteins that come from the oil glands in the animal’s skin and are shed in dander and not caused by their furs. Saliva, which sticks in the fur when an animal licks itself, and urine are also sources of allergy-causing proteins.