The immune system is incredibly complex, composed of countless cells of various types that work together to defend the body against potentially harmful microorganisms and foreign bodies.
Unfortunately, the immune system can sometimes react inappropriately. When the immune system overreacts to something that is otherwise harmless such as pollen, fur, or food, we call it an allergy. The result is the classic symptoms of allergies: skin redness, tingling, itchiness, congestion or runny nose, runny eyes, and breathing difficulty. Allergic reactions are responsible for allergic rhinitis, hay fever, and hives and they are often a factor in asthma. Allergic reactions are unpleasant, but for most people, they are minor. Certain types of allergies, however (like spider bites or bee stings) can cause a sudden and severe reaction known as anaphylaxis, which must be treated immediately. Need tips on preventing or treating allergies? Talk to your healthcare professional!