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Role of the Immunological System

At the present time the word ALLERGY implies a malfunction of the immune system. The allergic reaction is a very complex one where more than one mechanism can be involved.

The allergic individual is able to produce abnormal antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to cells literally loaded with chemicals that upon liberation will elicit the symptoms that are characteristic of the allergic reaction. (The usual antibody involved in allergic reactions is the one known as immunoglobulin E or IgE, and the better known cell to which this antibody attaches itself is the Mast cell).

While the role of the immunological system is to generate antibodies against “foreign invaders” (meaning for example viruses and bacteria) the allergic individual is able to produce antibodies against proteins that are not necessarily “invading” the body, like for example dust, molds or pollens.

In other words the allergic individual is the one that CAN PRODUCE these abnormal antibodies and not any person exposed to those foreign proteins.

These proteins (pollen, dust, animal dander and molds) are usually encountered by the body in the inspired air therefore the reactions elicited by these foreign proteins are called inhalant allergies. These foreign proteins are called generically allergens (meaning capable of inducing formation of the abnormal antibody).

The symptoms depend actually on what cells of the body are being affected and not on the chemicals liberated. In other words: The chemicals liberated are always the same but on different parts of the body will give different symptoms.

Examples:

If stimulating elicited symptoms will be
Eyes itching of the eyelids and tearing
Nose runny nose, obstruction and itching
Larynx cough, hoarseness, scratchy throat
Lungs cough, tight chest, shortness of breath, wheezing
Skin itching, rash, urticaria
Bowels pain, constipation, diarrhea
Brain pain (migraines)

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