Related topics: asthma

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 ...

Developing radically new technologies for X-ray systems

Siemens is investigating entirely new concepts for X-ray systems. The aim is to achieve a radical increase in imaging resolution and to enable phase-contrast X-ray imaging. This entirely new technique helps, for instance, ...

Nanoplasmonic biosensor for drug allergy diagnosis

Researchers have developed a new, non-invasive procedure to detect the severity of an allergic reaction to amoxicillin. The new biosensor platform is based on gold nanodisks, is very sensitive and works label-free, detecting ...

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

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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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