JUN 20, 2017 08:21 AM PDT

How and Why We Have Allergic Reactions

Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. and have increased in incidence by an estimated 50% over the past 20 years. There are several theories as to why allergies have been steadily increasing, and why there are so many different ones.

Even though a person can be allergic to just about anything, there are only 8 foods that account for an estimated 90% of all food-related allergic reactions. Foods such as peanuts and shellfish are widely known to cause severe and potentially fatal allergic reactions, where allergies to wheat and soy tend to produce milder effects.

In considering the cause of allergic reactions, it all stems from the immune system just messing up. If the immune system mistakenly designs a certain antibody type in response to exposure of a specific food or allergen, the next time the body is exposed, an allergic reaction is launched as if the allergen were a foreign pathogen. Here, we discuss common allergens, what happens biologically, and what to do about it…

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About the Author
  • I love all things science and am passionate about bringing science to the public through writing. With an M.S. in Genetics and experience in cancer research, marketing and technical writing, it is a pleasure to share the latest trends and findings in science on LabRoots.
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