Allergies 1

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Allergies affect nearly 20 percent of Americans. What is an allergy and why do they occur? Dr. Edward Hill explains more about allergies in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

The immune system is our bodys primary defense against disease and infection. An allergy is a reaction of your immune system to something that does not bother most people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing.

An allergen is an ordinarily harmless substance that your immune system recognizes as foreign. Allergens can be inhaled, eaten or absorbed through the eyes or skin. The allergic reaction may be minor, such as sneezing, watery eyes or itching. It may be much more serious with breathing problems, low blood pressure and even death.

Unfortunately, if youre allergic to one thing, youre likely to become allergic to others. Almost anything can be an allergen, but the most common are pollens from grasses, trees and weeds. Many foods can also cause allergic reactions, especially strawberries, cantaloupe and citrus fruits.

You can develop allergies any time, but most are acquired during childhood, puberty and during pregnancy. Allergies are controllable. Your physician can help determine your allergy triggers and develop a treatment course.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.