Friday, October 24, 2008

What are allergies?

An allergic reaction is an overreaction of the immune system to a substance called an allergen. Allergens include chemicals, foods, medicines, mold, plants, and pollen. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild and annoying to severe and life-threatening.

When you have a food allergy, your body thinks certain foods are trying to harm you. Your body fights back by setting off an allergic reaction. In most cases, the symptoms are mild—a rash, a stuffy nose, or an upset stomach. A mild reaction is no fun, but it is not dangerous. A serious reaction can be deadly. But quick treatment can stop a dangerous reaction.
Allergies tend to run in families. You are more likely to have a food allergy if other people in your family have allergies like hay fever, asthma, or eczema

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