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Definition of Allergies

December 2, 2013

Allergies are the body’s atypical reactions to commonly harmless substances. The sensitizing materials known as allergens can come into contact with the skin, swallowed or inhaled.  Allergens that often gives people a lot of problems include the environment (cold or hot temperatures), medications, bacteria, viruses, latex rubber, insect spores, plants, insect stings or bites, foods, animal dander, house dust mites, mold spores and pollens.


Typically, the body adapts well to different experiences it encounters. This is known by medical science and that is why they utilize vaccination to built immunity. Allergic responses happen after the immune system erroneously recognizes harmless foreign materials as potentially hostile to the body.

Due to a certain genetic predisposing factor, a person’s immune system overreacts to say, for example, ragweed pollen. When he inhales this pollen his body creates abundant numbers of antibodies called IgE which are specially tweaked to react to ragweed pollen. These antibodies bind themselves to cells in the person’s upper respiratory tract and nasal passages. These cells are called mast cells and possess chemicals termed mediators, which histamine is the best known of these.

Later, when the person inhales another ragweed, proteins from the ragweed attach itself to the IgE antibodies on the mast cells and this causes the mediators to explode from inside the mast cells damaging the surrounding tissues and destroying the pollen. This act causes the classical symptoms of allergy: red, watery eyes; stuffed up head; sniffling and sneezing.