Health A-Z: Allergies
One in three of us will suffer from allergies at some time in our lives and that number is on the rise. An allergy occurs when your body has an adverse reaction to something, say a food or substance in the environment that’s usually harmless.
These allergens include pollen, animal dander, dust mites and certain foods – particularly fruits, shellfish and nuts.
Your immune system sees the allergen as a threat and produces antibodies to fight it off – a reaction called the immune response. This causes the release of chemicals that lead to a runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing, rashes and swelling. But don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do to help yourself.