How Are Allergens Contracted?
There are a few steps to better understanding how allergies work.
An allergic response is an overreaction to an allergen by the immune system. There are different types of hypersensitivities that compound and comingle, and today we're going to discuss how allergens are contracted.
It's possible to have several allergies at once, like a food and pollen allergy, and allergens are contracted in a handful of ways.
Like mother, like daughter; like father, like son. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and neither do allergies. If your parents have/had allergies, there's a 75% chance you will too. It's just genetics baby.
While I'm sure you're not running around injecting yourself with poisonous chemicals, many people contract allergens through injections like vaccines, insect bites, beauty serums and the like. If there's a needle coming at you, there's a chance you'll get more than just what's in the syringe or stinger.
Yes, the word "consumption" here obviously means to eat, but it's relevant to note that most allergens contracted through consumption are hard to diagnosis because of the delayed reaction time.
Someone who has recurring sinus infections plausibly has more staph bacteria in their nasal mucus. At some inevitable moment, they'll swallow that staph laden snot, and it'll travel directly to their intestinal tract where the immune system lives. The staph bacteria then flourishes and creates more complications; that's a lot different than just eating a cherry and having a scratchy throat.
When you leave your house in the morning, you'll probably walk through grass and inhale pollen spores. Hopping in the driver's seat with an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror, you'll drive off in the enclosed car wearing perfume on your neck all the way to your destination.
If you let the windows down, you'll smell chemical fumes and oil, and the ragweed is more potent from the city's toxic air. Your nose will start to feel stuffy from swollen nasal tissue, and you'll be off and running towards a great day of congestion, headache, and fatigue.
There may be countless ways we inhale allergens every single day, but it's how our body responds that unique to each person.
It's not just allergens like poison ivy that you have to recognize as a skin allergy. Pets, detergents, hair dyes, wrinkle creams, and soaps are all included. Not all allergens produce the same results in their victims either. When two people are exposed to the same allergen, one person can break out in hives while the other has an asthma attack. Finding an explanation as to why you're allergic and others aren't, is the real challenge.
If allergies are a learned immune response...
Imagine being able to teach your immune system not to overreact when it came in contact with an allergen. Is that even possible?
Real life studies give us hope that healing is possible. People with an allergy to birchwood pollen were given just a dab of it with honey in the off seasons (fall, winter) and by the Spring they had fewer allergies.
The participants in the study retrained their immune system to accept birchwood pollen as a non-threat by changing the method of contraction. This policy isn't definitive across the board, but it does prove that how we acquire allergens matters in our response to it, giving us all a little more optimism for the future of allergy treatment.
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