An allergy is a chronic condition involving an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance called an allergen. Allergens can include aeroallergens such as dust mite, mold, and tree weed and grass pollen, as well as food allergens such as milk, egg, soy, wheat, nut or fish proteins.
If you have an allergy, your immune system views the allergen as an invader and a chain reaction is initiated. White blood cells of the immune system produce IgE antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to special cells called mast cells, causing a release of potent chemicals such as histamine. These chemicals cause symptoms such as:
• Itching in the nose, roof of the mouth, throat, eyes
• Stuffy nose (congestion)
• Runny nose
• Tearing eyes
• Dark circles under the eyes
• Food allergies may present with vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory symptoms or anaphylaxis immediately after ingestion of the culprit allergen
Learn more about allergy symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management.
If you or your child have allergy symptoms, or if your symptoms are not under control, it is time to see a specialist. An allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, can help. An allergist has advanced training and experience to determine what is causing your symptoms and prescribe a treatment plan to help you feel better and live better.
The AAAAI's Find an Allergist / Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.