Allergies Causes & Risk Factors

Allergies Causes & Risk Factors

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    One prevailing theory about allergy development stems from a biochemical reaction that occurs when our antibodies react to invaders. B cells shoot invaders with bullets called immunoglobulins, or antibodies, and they're specifically designed to target particular threats. In addition to shooting antibodies, B cells also wear them on their surface. The surface antibodies associated with allergies (called IgE antibodies) stick to B cells like green on peas, supercharging them to fight invaders that may not be particularly dangerous. Like Fluffy. How did we end up with this overzealous class of antibodies? Some immunologists believe that way back in the day, a high-octane disease or infection appeared, and those of our ancestors who had IgE were able to survive it because of their powerful immune response. Those IgE antibodies have been with us ever since. The downside is that they can now react strongly to nonlethal stimuli, and that's what causes an allergic reaction.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Occupational allergens include a wide range of airborne substances that can cause allergies and asthma. These include such things as laboratory animal dander, grain and flour dust that affect bakers and agricultural workers, other foodstuffs such as coffee bean dust, dust from woods such as mahogany or western red cedar, and chemicals like platinum or toluene diisocyanate that affect people who spray paint. Substances like psyllium, which is found in laxatives like Metamucil, can cause asthma in those who handle large amounts of the powder, such as nurses and pharmacists.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    Some people suffer from skin allergies. People with sensitive skin should avoid some of the fragrances, antioxidants, stabilizers, preservatives, and coloring agents that are found in skin-care products and cosmetics. Sometimes less is more. While a skin cream might have one or two active ingredients, they all have a dozen or more inactive ingredients - that is, they are supposed to be inactive for making your skin healthy. But those inactive ingredients could be active against you and your skin.

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    An allergy is when your body overreacts to something that's harmless to most other people. Here are some common things people are allergic to:
    • Pollen and mold. Many people are allergic to pollen from trees, weeds, and grasses. Mold growth is a big problem in wet areas.
    • Dust mites. Dust mites are tiny bugs you can't see but are everywhere. They feed off dust, dirt, dead skin, and other harmless things in our homes.
    • Animals. Many people are allergic to cats, dogs, and other pets. Being around these animals brings on symptoms.
    • Insect bites or stings. If you are allergic, your reaction could affect your whole body. It will be worse than the usual redness, swelling, and itching most people have where the bite is.
    • Chemicals. You can be allergic to chemicals in cleaners, paints, or soaps. Some people are allergic to latex (such as in latex gloves).
    • Medicines. Some people are allergic to medicines prescribed by a doctor. But you can also be allergic to things you buy at the store. Even herbs can cause problems.
    • Foods. Foods most likely to cause allergies are milk, soy, eggs, wheat, seafood, peanuts, and tree nuts. But you can have an allergy to any food.
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    A Allergy & Immunology, answered on behalf of

    The issue of "allergy" to wine is a common one. There is generally no simple answer. A commonly held belief is that people react to the sulfites that are added to wine to prevent spoilage. The level of these can vary from wine to wine. There is a small subset of people that are sensitive to sulfites, and they tend to have asthma. However, in a study comparing high and low sulfite containing wine, people who stated wine made their asthma flare showed no change after drinking it. A similar study showed only 2 of 10 people with this problem reacted to a high sulfite wine. 

    There are numerous compounds in wine: biogenic amines, sulfites, and histamine to name a few. Numerous studies have shown that the histamine content of wine does not correlate to symptoms. Sometimes even trace amounts of insects such as bees have been shown to exist in wine, and one study reported sensitivity to bee venom in people with wine senstivity who had never been stung. The complex nature of wine makes it enjoyable, but may also make it difficult to pin down why it causes people problems, or why some wines are tolerated when others are not.

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    How old you are when you're exposed is critical, and viruses may also play a role. Recent studies show that heavy exposure early in life - before age 2 - may be protective against animal allergies and asthma.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    It's not just mold and mildew (both allergens in their own right) that thrive in moist, warm environments. Dust mites are big fans, too. Buy a hygrometer to measure the moisture in your home, and if necessary, purchase dehumidifiers to tackle moisture trouble spots.
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    Most skin allergies are not contagious. This is because allergic reactions are caused by the unique response of each individual's immune system. Substances that cause a reaction in one person may not cause a reaction in someone else, even if both people have the same skin condition. Most of the time, hives and rashes caused by skin allergies won't even spread to other parts of the same person's body, let alone parts of someone else's body.

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    Like all types of allergies, skin allergies can be influenced by genetics. Usually, the chances of developing a skin allergy increase if one or both parents have any type of allergy. This is because people don't always develop the same type of allergies as their parents. For example, parents with seasonal allergies may have a child with skin allergies, or parents with skin allergies might have a child with respiratory allergies.

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    A answered

    While some foods may help ease allergy symptoms, others may aggravate them. Research suggests that alcohol, refined grains, red and cured meats and foods high in saturated fat and sugar can worsen allergy symptoms by worsening inflammation.