An allergy is characterized by an overreaction of the human immune system to a foreign protein substance (“allergen”) that is eaten, breathed into the lungs, injected or touched. This immune overreaction as we all know, can result in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. In severe cases which we may not know, it can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, and even death.
What we also need to know, is that the human body is filled with special cells, systems and organs that stand ready to fight invaders. The microbiome is one of the most important and is situated at various strategic places in and on the body monitoring what enters the body including the skin, mouth and nasal passages. The immune system includes the microbiome and other cells and systems.
Anaphylaxis is one serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. It typically causes a number of symptoms including an itchy rash, throat swelling, and low blood pressure. Common causes include insect bites and stings, foods, and medications.
So what is an allergy?
An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to a substance that’s harmless to most people. But in someone with an allergy, the body’s immune system treats the substance (called an allergen) as an invader and overreacts, causing symptoms that can range from annoying to serious or life-threatening.
In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system of the allergic person produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Those antibodies then cause mast cells and basophils (allergy cells in the body) to release chemicals (including histamine) into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen “invader.”
It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions, affecting a person’s eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract as the body’s immune system attempts to rid itself of the invading allergen. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again. This means that every time the person eats that particular food or is exposed to that particular allergen, he or she will have an allergic reaction.
Allergies can be seasonal (happening only at certain times of the year, like when pollen counts are high) or can occur any time someone comes in contact with an allergen.
What Causes Allergies During Pregnancy?
There is an excellent explanation on the Mom-Loves-Best blog post, they will also give you the scoop on everything you’ve ever wondered about pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood.
Intermittent fasting naturally supports the body’s immune system, communicating immune information more efficiently between the mitochondria in the cells in the body, and ultimately enhancing the body’s ability to withstand attacks on its health. Fasting does not cure disease or kill germs. It’s our immune system that protects us from germs, cancer and other diseases. Intermittent fasting can boost, strengthen, or suppress the immune system (in the case of autoimmune disease), but goes far beyond these effects. According to renowned medical specialists like Dr Jason Fung, fasting is the most significant breakthrough in the health care industry in this century.
Fasting deals with our inducers and suppressors that regulate the immune system’s response to disease and allergies. The inducers are used by the “brain” to activate more “combat” cells into battle against germs, disease and substances causing allergies. The suppressors are very important in maintaining your health. When germs enter the body or a mutated cell becomes cancerous, the activated mTOR, which serves as the “brain” of the immune system, carefully guides these immune cells to the target and then to clean out the weak cells not doing their job.
Sometimes immune cells overreact to an invader and destroy the battlefield, which is your body tissue. At times the immune system will actually target its own body as the enemy and attack it. This is called an autoimmune disorder. Fasting is important in regulating the insulin hormones in the blood so that you will not develop autoimmune disorders or become overweight. There are hundreds of different autoimmune diseases including diabetes and certain allergies. Many people don’t even know that what they are suffering from is an autoimmune disease. Even allergies are a type of dysfunctional immune system that is attacking the wrong target.
An antibody is a protein (also called an immunoglobulin) that is manufactured by lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) to neutralize an antigen or foreign protein. Bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms commonly contain many antigens, as do pollens, dust mites, moulds, foods, and other substances. Although many types of antibodies are the protective, inappropriate or excessive formation of antibodies may lead to illness. When the body forms a type of antibody called IgE (immunoglobulin E), allergic rhinitis, asthma or eczema may result when the patient is again exposed to the substance which caused IgE antibody formation (allergen).
An antigen is a substance that can trigger an immune response, resulting in the production of an antibody as part of the body’s defence against infection and disease. Many antigens are foreign proteins (those not found naturally in the body). An allergen is a special type of antigen which causes an IgE antibody response.
Allergies are hypersensitive immune responses to substances that either enter or come in contact with the body, such as pet dander, pollen or bee venom. A substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an “allergen”. Allergens can be found in food, drinks or the environment.
Most allergens are harmless, i.e. the majority of people are not affected by them.
If you are allergic to a substance, such as pollen, your immune system reacts to it as if it were a pathogen (a foreign harmful substance), and tries to destroy it.
The steepest increase in allergies has been observed in children, particularly food allergies.
A team of researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine reported in Pediatrics that about 8% of American children have some kind of food allergy. 38.7% of those with food allergies have a history of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions), and 30.4% are allergic to more than one food.
Researchers from St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, found that foreign-born children who live in the USA have a lower risk of allergies. This risk grows the longer they remain in America. This gives us food for thought as they have developed a different microbiome.
The following may be signs of an allergic reaction to medication:
- Swollen tongue
- Swollen lips
- Swelling of the face
- Skin rash
Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction with a rapid onset. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and must be treated as a medical emergency.
This type of allergic reaction presents several different symptoms which can appear minutes or hours after exposure to the allergen. If the exposure is intravenous, the onset is usually between 5 to 30 minutes. A food allergen will take longer.
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency
Researchers from the University of Manitoba, Canada, reported in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology that the most commonly affected areas in anaphylaxis are the skin (80-90%), respiratory (70%), gastrointestinal (30-45%), cardiovascular 10-45%) and the central nervous system (10-15%). In most cases, two areas are affected simultaneously.
The immune system of a person with an allergy reacts to the allergen as though it were a harmful pathogen – such as an undesirable bacteria, virus, fungus or toxin. However, the allergen is not harmful. The immune system has simply become oversensitive to that substance which means the immune system has to be educated.
It always comes back to the immune system in one way or another. In this day and age with the evidence that immunology science has given us, we need to firstly ensure our immune system is strong, balanced and kept intelligent with healthy eating and intermittent fasting.
The human body is filled with all types of special systems, cells and organs that stand ready to fight invaders. Together they are called the immune system – is your system ready and able to fight all diseases?
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