About Allergies

What are allergies?

Allergies are an over-reaction by the body to substances it considers to be potentially harmful.

These substances may be something breathed in, injected such as a sting, contact for example touching something or brushing against something or ingested by mouth. In most people, these substances produce no symptoms, however in sensitised people, they can trigger sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itching, skin rashes and/or swelling.1

Causes of Allergy2

The substances that cause an allergic reaction in sensitised people are known as allergens, and they can enter the body in a variety of ways:

Nose

Inhaled into the nose and the lungs

Examples are: airborne pollens of certain trees, grasses and weeds, dust mite droppings, mould spores, cat and dog dander

Mouth

Ingested by mouth

These are generally the things that we eat and drink, for example peanuts and some medicines

Syringe

Injected

Reactions to stinging insects and injectable drugs

Hand

Absorbed through the skin

Things we come into contact with, such as latex, household chemicals

In sensitised people these substances are considered foreign by the body and the normal reaction of our body to any type of invasion by foreign substances is to defend itself. This is the role of our immune system.

Allergy Classification2

Allergies come in a wide variety. They are often classified according to where they produce symptoms: skin, respiratory tract (nose, lungs). Or their causes: insect stings, foods, medicines.

  • Respiratory
  • Allergies to insect stings
  • Skin Allergies
  • Food Allergies
  • Allergies to medicine

More about Types of Allergy

The Allergic Reaction Explained3,4,5

Why are allergies increasing?

The most common chronic disease in Europe is Allergy and it is on the rise6. Research shows rates of allergy are increasing throughout the world, affecting 30-35% of people at some stage in their lives.7 Why is this figure so high?……..

References
  1. BMA; Understanding allergies. Publication year 2013, Publisher Family Doctor Publications; author Dr Joanne Clough, Page 7/13
  2. https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/a/allergies/causes-of-allergies.html
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allergic_inflammation
  4. https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/i/indoor-allergy-perennial-allergic-rhinitis-/
  5. BMA; Understanding allergies. Publication year 2013, Publisher Family Doctor Publications; author Dr Joanne Clough, Page 12-14
  1. https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/statistics
  2. https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/conditions-and-symptoms/47-about-allergy (Download fact sheet why is allergy increasing)
  3. BMA; Title: Understanding allergies; Publication year:2006;Publisher: family doctor Publication; author: Dr Joanne Clough; Page 23.
  4. Allergy UK, Childhood Allergy Series, Pregnancy & the first year; publication year 07; publisher Blossom; Page 4
  5. BMA; Title: Understanding allergies; Publication year:2006;Publisher: family doctor Publication; author: Dr Joanne Clough; Page 24-26.
  1. BMA; Title: Understanding allergies; Publication year:2006;Publisher: family doctor Publication; author: Dr Joanne Clough; Page 26&27.
  2. Allergy UK, Childhood Allergy Series, Pregnancy & the first year; publication year 07; publisher Blossom; Page 23
  3. BMA; Title: Understanding allergies; Publication year:2006;Publisher: family doctor Publication; author: Dr Joanne Clough; Page 27 & page 48/49
  4. https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/conditions-and-symptoms/47-about-allergy (Download fact sheet why is allergy increasing)