Related topics: asthma

Tackling food allergies at the source

Food allergies are a big problem. About 7% of children and 2% of adults in the U.S. suffer from some kind of food allergy. These allergies cost a whopping $25 billion in health care each year. Then there's the time lost at ...

Gentler, safer hair dye based on synthetic melanin

With the coronavirus pandemic temporarily shuttering hair salons, many clients are appreciating—and missing—using hair dye to cover up grays or touch up roots. Whether done at a salon or at home, frequent coloring, however, ...

Improving adhesives for wearable sensors

By conveniently and painlessly collecting data, wearable sensors create many new possibilities for keeping tabs on the body. In order to work, these devices need to stay next to the skin. In a study described in ACS Omega, ...

Toward a safer permanent hair dye that mimics melanin

Coloring hair has become a common practice, particularly for people who want to hide their graying locks. But an ingredient in many of today's commercial hair dyes has been linked to allergic reactions and skin irritation. ...

Hypoallergenic parks: Coming soon?

Ah-choo! If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you're probably sick of this refrain. And you're not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Moreover, there are allergy sufferers around the world echoing ...

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Allergy

Allergy is a disorder of the immune system often also referred to as atopy. Allergic reactions occur to normally harmless environmental substances known as allergens; these reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid. Strictly, allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is called type I (or immediate) hypersensitivity. It is characterized by excessive activation of certain white blood cells called mast cells and basophils by a type of antibody known as IgE, resulting in an extreme inflammatory response. Common allergic reactions include eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma, food allergies, and reactions to the venom of stinging insects such as wasps and bees.

Mild allergies like hay fever are highly prevalent in the human population and cause symptoms such as allergic conjunctivitis, itchiness, and runny nose. Allergies can play a major role in conditions such as asthma. In some people, severe allergies to environmental or dietary allergens or to medication may result in life-threatening anaphylactic reactions and potentially death.

A variety of tests now exist to diagnose allergic conditions; these include testing the skin for responses to known allergens or analyzing the blood for the presence and levels of allergen-specific IgE. Treatments for allergies include allergen avoidance, use of anti-histamines, steroids or other oral medications, immunotherapy to desensitize the response to allergen, and targeted therapy.

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