The Fundamentals

Allergy is an acquired, abnormal immune response to a substance (allergen) that does not normally cause a reaction. An initial exposure, sensitization, to the allergen is required, then subsequent contact with the allergen results in a broad range of inflammatory responses. Some allergic conditions are eczema, hayfever, bronchial asthma,hives, allergic rhinitis, or food allergy. Allergens may be introduced by contact, ingestion, inhalation, or injection.
There are four types of allergic reactions: Type I reactions are immediate or systemic anaphylaxis (extremely rapid) inflammatory responses to allergens, such as hives, asthma, and angioedema. Systemic anaphylaxis is life-threatening. The allergen reaches the bloodstream triggering a massive release of chemical mediators that produce severe bronchial obstruction, vasodilation, and increased vascular permeability. Hayfever is a Type I hypersensitivity reaction of the mucous membranes of the nose and upper air passages. These are caused by external irritation and create inflammation, catarrh, watery or itchy eyes, headache, and asthmatic symptoms.
Type II (cytoxic) reactions are antigen-antibody reactions that cause transfusion reactions and many drug reactions. These cause lysis of blood cells due to the release of complement.
Type III (immune complex) reactions occur when IgG or IgM antibodies attach to antigens, creating complexes that circulate in the blood. These can cause damage when they adhere to the blood vessel walls, initiating inflammation. Serum sickness characterized by fever, joint and muscle pain, and lymphadenopathy, is a Type III reaction that can occur in sensitized people who receive penicillins, sulfuramides, or antitoxins developed from animals.
Type IV (cell mediate) reactions are mediated by sensitized T lymphocytes, not antibodies. Contact dermatitis is one type of Type IV reaction and involves many common allergens such as rubber, poison ivy, chromium and nickel. Contact dermatitis is marked by acute erythema, edema, itching and scaling.

Helpful Links:

MedInfo: Hayfever
Allergies & Hayfever

he term "allergy" comes from the Greek "allos", meaning changed or altered state, and "ergon" meaning reaction or reactivity. The term was coined in 1906 by a Viennese pediatrician. Allergic disorders are very common and affect millions of Americans daily. Often, allergies are not taken seriously, but the truth is that the consequences may produce many more serious problems. The basis of nasal allergies results from inhaling allergens with the mast cells in the nasal mucous membrane. This results in the release of powerful chemical agents, including histamine, the most well-known. Severe welling of the mucous membrane lining of the nasal passages, intense itching, sneezing, and water mucous are a result. This page will focus on the year-round form of allergic reactions known as perennnial allergic rhinitis, and the seasonal form known as hayfever. Just as there are many causes of allergies, including pollen, dust, animal dander, and chemicals, to name a few, there are also many naturopathic ways to treat this uncomfortable, and sometimes serious, ailment. Cordyceps, dandelion, echinacea, elderberry, ephedra, nettles, osha root, pau d'arco, astragalus, "Allergy"(Brazil) are the ones to talk about.
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Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the use of a qualified health care professional. We strongly recommend the use of a physician for the diagnostic phase of any treatment. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, we believe the consumer, at that point, has a basic, unalienable right to seek out factual information on all therapeutic approaches, both orthodox and alternative, and choose those approach(es) that are right for them. Nonetheless, a "good doctor" should be considered a requisite starting point.

To U.S. Users: None of the products mentioned on this page have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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