Lady wishing she were dead.
Lady blowing nose.
Lady sneezing.
The substances that cause allergic disease in people are known as allergens. “Antigens,” or protein particles like pollen, food or dander enter our bodies through a variety of ways. If the antigen causes an allergic reaction, that particle is considered an “allergen” – and antigen that triggers an allergic reaction. These allergens can get into our body in several ways:

Inhaled into the nose and the lungs. Examples are airborne pollens of certain trees, grasses and weeds; house dust that include dust mite particles, mold spores, cat and dog dander and latex dust.

Ingested by mouth. Frequent culprits include shrimp, peanuts and other nuts.

Injected. Such as medications delivered by needle like penicillin or other injectable drugs, and venom from insect stings and bites.

Absorbed through the skin. Plants such as poison ivy, sumac and oak and latex are examples.
What Makes Some Pollen Cause Allergies, and Not Others?

Plant pollens that are carried by the wind cause most allergies of the nose, eyes and lungs. These plants (including certain weeds, trees and grasses) are natural pollutants produced at various times of the year when their small, inconspicuous flowers discharge literally billions of pollen particles.

Because the particles can be carried significant distances, it is important for you not only to understand local environmental conditions, but also conditions over the broader area of the state or region in which you live. Unlike the wind-pollinated plants, conspicuous wild flowers or flowers used in most residential gardens are pollinated by bees, wasps, and other insects and therefore are not widely capable of producing allergic disease.
What Causes Allergies?
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Your body’s immune system is a collection of cells and organs that work individually and collectively to protect your body from outside invaders such as parasites, viruses and bacteria. Your immune system is an incredibly active and efficient defense mechanism, but not a perfect one. That is why we all get colds and many people develop diseases.

Allergic reactions are caused by both an outside invader and the body making a mistake. When a generally harmless substance such as pollen enters your body, your immune system may mistakenly treat it like a harmful invader. How your body reacts next determines the Allergic symptoms you feel.
What happens to the body during an allergic reaction is known as the allergic chain of events or the allergic cascade.

First, an allergen enters the body where it is misidentified as a harmful and foreign substance by your specialized white blood cells that work together to identify and exterminate bacteria and viruses. These cells are known as B-cells and T-cells.

Your body then begins producing IgE antibodies which are proteins specifically engineered to neutralize the threat of the mis-identified allergen.

These IgE antibodies attach themselves to a specialized blood cell known as a mast cell (most commonly found in the body’s airways and GI tract) and lie in wait for the same substance to enter the body again.

When the allergy sufferer comes into contact again with the same allergen, the IgE antibodies begin breaking down the mast cells.

As mast cell walls are destroyed, each releases a load of chemicals, including histamine, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes, into the surrounding tissues and blood.

These chemicals then bind to receptors in your blood, nasal tissues and other tissues in your body, causing a host of symptoms ranging from swelling to sneezing and a runny nose to hives.

The release of histamine is what causes a cascade of allergy symptoms that can affect the GI tract, skin, respiratory system or cardiovascular system.

Why Do We have Allergic Reactions?
What's happening inside my body when an allergic reaction occurs?
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