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Do you have dark rings under your eyes?

You may have an ALLERGY  

What is an allergy?

An allergy is everything from a runny nose, itchy eyes and palate to skin rash. It aggravates the sense of smell, sight, tastes and touch causing irritation, extreme disability and sometimes fatality. It occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances.

Allergy is widespread and affects approximately one in four of the population in the UK at some time in their lives. Each year the numbers are increasing by 5% with as many as half of all those affected being children.

What causes an allergy?

Allergic reactions are caused by substances in the environment known as allergens. Almost anything can be an allergen for someone. Allergens contain protein, which is often regarded as a constituent of the food we we eat.

The most common allergens are:
pollen from trees and grasses, house dust mite, moulds, pets such as cats and dogs, insects like wasps and bees, industrial and household chemicals, medicines, and foods such as milk and eggs.
Less common allergens include nuts, fruit and latex.

There are some non-protein allergens which include drugs such as penicillin. For these to cause an allergic response they need to be bound to a protein once they are in the body.

An allergic person's immune system believes allergens to be damaging and so produces a special type of antibody (IgE) to attack the invading material. This leads other blood cells to release further chemicals (including histamine) which together cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

The most common symptoms are:
sneezing , runny nose, itchy eyes and ears, severe wheezing, coughing shortness of breath, sinus problems, a sore palate and nettle-like rash.

It should be understood that all the symptoms mentioned can be caused by factors other than allergy. Indeed some of the conditions are diseases in themselves.

Asthma, eczema, headaches, lethargy, loss of concentration and sensitivity to everyday foods represent a huge problem in society today. 

It is said that there are many perfectly happy and healthy dogs with fleas galore, but other dogs that were religiously kept flea-free suffered from massive itchy skin problems. 

Recent research supports this observation. Studies have shown that the presence of a small number of fleas may, in the long run, actually help a dog. Apparently, a dog with fleas develops an immune response that a dog kept flea-free never has a chance to muster. 

Perhaps our ancestors evolved in harmony with the human flea, (except for the bubonic plague!!) and developed an immune system to match, which is now out of step with the modern. sterile world.  

Find out more about allergies

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