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 is when your body has an adverse reaction to a particular food or substance in the environment that is 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 an allergic reaction. Symptoms of allergy include runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing, rashes and swelling.
Take steps to ease symptoms by avoiding contact with your allergen or seeking advice from your GP about medication. You can also help protect yourself against allergies with lifestyle changes and natural solutions.