THE SCIENCE BEHIND ALLERGIES
Allergic reactions are often referred to as ‘hypersensitivity reactions’, which describes a response produced by your body’s normal immune system.
Those who suffer from allergies are responding negatively to allergens in the environment that are otherwise harmless to most other people. Allergens are things that you are allergic to. Under normal circumstances, the immune system defends your body against foreign substances (antigens). In allergy sufferers, allergens are mistaken for dangerous invaders, and are attacked as if they are a virus or bacteria.
There is a genetic link: if one or both of your parents suffered from allergies, chances are you will too. Research indicates a susceptibility to allergies in general rather than a specific one. Evidence suggests that at least one major genetic aberration could be the cause of everything from hay fever and food allergies to asthma. This group of people have what is called ‘atopy’ – when atopic people are exposed to allergens, their bodies release chemicals that cause inflammation, which results in redness and swelling (with or without more significant symptoms).