The occurrence of allergic diseases as, e.g., hay fever, asthma, neurodermitis, is steadily growing in our modern society. About every fifth adult and every third child suffer from allergy and the numbers indicate that the tendency is increasing.
Allergies are the overreaction of the immune system against substances that do not cause the organism to react in normal situations. Such substances are called allergens and include among others pollen, dust, animal hairs, mites, mildew spores, animal venoms, microorganisms, foods, medicine, chemicals and heavy metals.
Symptoms vary to a great extent depending on the organ in which the allergic reaction takes place. Allergens that spread by air (as in the case of pollen or mites) cause the inflammation of the respiratory tract and that of the cornea. Similarly, hay fever (allergic rhinitis) causes the thickening of the nasal mucosa, nasal discharge, sneezing, eye irritation, and tears. If allergens get into the lungs, they can cause asthmatic symptoms: difficulties in breathing, cough, and wheezing. If allergens get into the digestive system, the following symptoms can occur: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, meteorism, and diarrhea. Allergic reactions on the skin such as eczemas and urticaria are accompanied by the redness of the skin and swelling.
In more serious cases, the reaction does not remain localized and spreads to the whole body, causing so-called anaphylaxis.
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