In the medical dictionary allergy is defined as:
“A specific response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances”
The ‘foreign substances’ some people react to are called allergens. Examples of allergens are tree pollen, grass pollen, house dust mites, animal dander, insect venom and food. People who are sensitive to these allergens react with allergic symptoms such as hives, eczema, stuffiness, a runny nose, sneezing, and/or watery eyes after being in contact with this/these particular allergen(s).
The last 30 years, the number of people suffering from allergic diseases increased enormously. This growth is mainly seen in the Western world but a solid explanation for this phenomenon has not yet been found.
On the following pages you can find information about what allergy is and information on different types of allergy. In addition, you will find information on symptoms which may indicate an allergy and last but not least information on cross-reactivity, a common phenomenon in allergy.
- What is allergy?
- Types of allergy
- Allergy symptoms
- Cross reactivity