Common allergens include pollen, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, feathers, foods, medications and insect venom.
Common allergic symptoms include itching, watery eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Occasionally more severe reactions can occur. The most dangerous reaction is commonly referred to as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a syndrome characterized by a sudden drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and gastrointestinal symptoms that, if untreated, can be deadly.
Allergists treat ailments such as hay fever, asthma, eczema, hives and other diseases of compromised immune systems.
Immunology is a subspecialty of Internal Medicine which focuses on disorders of the immune system.
The Immune System is a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to defend the body against infections.
Disorders include immunodeficiency disorders, which occur when part of the immune system is missing or malfunctioning; autoimmune disorders, which occur when the immune system mistakes the body’s healthy organs and tissues for foreign invaders; allergic disorders, which occur when the immune system overreacts to environmental antigens.
Antigens are any substance that is capable of causing an immune response. Antigens that cause disease are called pathogens. Pathogens are attacked by the immune system in order to protect the body from their harmful affects.
Immunotherapy is a method of desensitizing the immune by exposing it to small quanties of antigen on a frequent basis. The goal is to "trick" the immune system into tolerating antigens such as pollens and medications.