What is an Allergy?
An allergy is an overreaction of the body’s immune system to an ordinarily harmless substance. Allergies are not just seasonal. They exist throughout the year, indoors and out, and affect people of all ages. Allergies can impair performance, interfering with sleep, cognitive skills and even physical ability. Occasionally, allergies can cause anaphylaxis, a potentially life threatening reaction. Many things in our every day lives can trigger an allergic reaction, including animal dander, house dust mites, foods, grasses, trees, weeds, and molds.
Traditionally, fur is believed to cause allergic reaction to animals, but researchers have found the cause to be proteins secreted by oil glands in the animal's skin. Dander, saliva, and urine, which carry these proteins, eventually dry up and release the proteins into the air.
In a typical food allergy, the immune system produces antibodies to a specific food. Commonly troublesome food allergens include milk, eggs, peanut and shellfish.
Grasses, Trees and Weeds
Tiny particles of pollen are released into the air during certain seasons where they can enter human noses and throats, triggering an allergic reaction. Patients suffering from seasonal "hay fever" may also have sensitivities to perennial allergens such as house dust. Sensitivities to such perennial allergens may contribute to the severity of seasonal symptoms.
House Dust Mites
This allergic reaction results from the airborne waste product of Dust Mites, tiny organisms that live in the dust of areas inhabited by people like bedding, upholstered furniture, drapes, and carpets.
Much like pollens, molds release spores into the air where they can enter human noses and throats, triggering an allergic reaction. Mold allergies can be perennial or seasonal depending on the geographic area and are most noticeable indoors in damp environments, while others are a problem outdoors on windy days.