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Why are allergies becoming more common?

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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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.