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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Allergies
      Category : Health Centers > Allergies


Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

An allergy is an immune response by the body to certain stimuli in the environment that are normally harmless.

What is going on in the body?

The immune system is made up of chemical pathways and cells within the body. When these are activated, an allergic response occurs. Allergies occur in response to normally harmless triggers known as allergens. The body of a person with an allergy responds to an allergen by attacking it.

The immune response activates certain immune cells called mast cells. Mast cells trigger the release of chemicals. These chemicals include histamine and leukotrienes. They act on tissues in the body and create the allergic response.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

No one knows for sure why some people have allergies and others do not. Family history appears to play a part in a person's development of allergies.

Some common types of allergies include the following:

  • allergic reactions to medications
  • food allergies
  • nasal allergies


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    Allergies: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Mark Loury, MD
    Reviewer: Nicholas J. Rowley, MD
    Date Reviewed: 08/21/01

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