What is an Allergy?
What is an allergy? Allergies occur when a person reacts adversely to something most people tolerate. For example, most of us can eat eggs, but a certain group of allergic individuals have trouble if they eat eggs. This trouble can be hives, rashes, swelling of the tongue and mouth, asthma, or even shock, and very rarely, death. So allergies can be serious. Allergies can be from things we eat, things we breathe, and things we touch. The simplest approach is to avoid what makes us sick. That is the best treatment—don't eat eggs, in our example.
Avoidance and medications
But when it comes to allergies caused by substances we breathe in, they are very hard to avoid. Ragweed, a plant that produces lots of pollen, blooms in late summer and early fall. The pollen blows into people's eyes, noses, and lungs, causing allergy-induced hay fever, allergy-induced asthma, allergy-induced ear and sinus diseases, and even allergy-induced eye disease, called allergic conjunctivitis. (Looks like pink eye, but itches.) Ragweed is a seasonal allergy as are grass and tree pollens. But there are all-year or perennial substances that cause allergies. Examples are house dust mites, house pets, molds, and even cockroaches.