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Understanding Allergies
Allergic diseases such as asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and dermatitis are quite common, and their prevalence has increased over the past 20-30 years. Allergic conditions have become more common in great part due to a general decrease in our health-related quality of life and represent a considerable burden on the health-care system, with both direct and indirect costs. Moreover, serious allergic diseases, such as asthma, are often disabling and occasionally fatal.
An allergy is a state of altered immune response. Allergies are triggered by a substance which is identified as harmful. The body’s reaction to this can take many forms, the most common kind being an inflammatory reaction. An excessive immune response may cause only mild discomfort but sometimes results in a total failure of the organism. All existing proteins are potential allergens, but most people suffer from seasonal, respiratory allergies caused by pollen, mold, or dust; food allergies; and allergies which are adverse reactions to drugs.

After the exposure to an antigen (allergen), antigen-presenting cells (APCs) process the antigen and present it to Th lymphocytes.
Th lymphocytes respond by releasing chemical mediators named cytokines, including the interleukins IL-4, IL-5, IL-13. These molecules affect B-lymphocytes and transform them into plasma cells.
Plasma cells secrete immunoglobulins (IgE), specific to the allergen.
IgE antibodies attach themselves to mast cells and basophils throughout the body, especially in the eyes, nose, lungs, and skin.
After sensitation, the next encounter with the same allergen will cause destruction of mast cells and basophils, while stored histamine and other chemical mediators will be released in the surrounding tissue and blood.
Swelling and inflammation, depending on the part of the body involved, cause numerous symptoms such as lacrimation, sneezing, conjunctivitis, oedema, erythema, hives, diarrhoea, vomiting, etc.
Common techniques used to fight allergy diseases are avoidance, medication, and immunotherapy. While avoidance of common allergens such as pollen, dust or mold is practically impossible, anti alergic medications may have side efects. Immunotherapy is often the most effective method; however, because of its expense, the time required, and the possible risks, immunotherapy is usually available to only a small number of patients.
There is a need for alternative solution.
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