About 1 out of every 6 Americans (50 million people) suffer from some form of allergy. Chronic allergies can cause absence from work, increased expenses for medication(s), and general discomfort. Because so many people experience allergies but are allergic to something different, we might ask ourselves: what exactly is an allergy?
The immune system
An allergy is an over reaction of your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. To understand an allergy, you first have to understand a few things about your immune system. Your immune system is in charge of keeping your body safe from foreign substances including viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc. Antibodies travel throughout the blood seeking foreign objects to destroy and remove. People with allergies have similar body chemistry and each person with allergies over produces the antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE) in his/her system. But what causes allergies? Read on for more information on causes and risk factors for allergy.