Think About It Thursday: How Do Allergies Work?

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“Ah-choo!” It is said that approximately 50 million people in the United States suffer from some form of nasal allergy every year. Usually when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants. So how exactly do allergies actually work?

Your body’s immune system is able to identify and destroy many foreign invaders. Allergies are the result of a hypersensitive immune system. The allergic immune system misidentifies an otherwise inoffensive substance as harmful, and then attacks the substance with ferocity.

In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system starts a chain reaction that prompts some of the body’s cells to release histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream. The histamine then causes a person’s eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract to react, causing allergy symptoms. Antihistamine medications are suppose these help to fight symptoms caused by the release of histamine during an allergic reaction. There is no real cure for seasonal allergies, but it is possible to relieve symptoms. Start by reducing or eliminating exposure to allergens. During allergy season, keep windows closed, use air conditioning if possible, and stay indoors when pollen counts are high.


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