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Antibodies

A protein produced by the immune system in response to a foreign substance such as a virus or bacterium.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of General Medical Sciences)

Diagram showing how the body becomes allergic to a substance, from sensitization through to allergic reaction, with pollen as an example. Click to enlarge

How allergies develop: pollen and hayfever as an example Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG)

Terms to know

Allergens
A substance that causes an allergic response. Examples include pollen, molds, and certain foods.
Allergic Reaction (Allergic Response)
Immune reaction to a substance that normally is harmless or would not cause an immune response in most people. An allergic response may cause harmful symptoms such as itching or inflammation or tissue injury.
Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
Inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the nose due to allergy. The inflammation may also involve the mucous membranes of the sinuses, eyes, middle ear, and pharynx. Symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, and itching.
Allergies
Conditions caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to something in the environment that usually causes little or no problem in most people. Symptoms may include red eyes, an itchy rash, runny nose, shortness of breath, or swelling.
Antigens
A foreign substance that triggers the production of antibodies when it is introduced into the body.
Antihistamine
A type of drug that blocks the action of histamines, which can cause fever, itching, sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes. Antihistamines are used to prevent fevers in patients receiving blood transfusions and to treat allergies, coughs, and colds.
Cells
The basic subunit of any living organism; the simplest unit capable of independent life. Although there are some single-celled organisms, such as bacteria, most organisms consist of many cells that are specialized for particular functions.
Histamine
A substance that has many effects in the body. It is released from some types of white blood cells during allergic reactions.
Mast Cells
A granulocyte found in tissue. The contents of mast cells, along with those of basophils, are responsible for the symptoms of allergy.
Pollen
The male genetic material of a plant, usually appearing as fine grains or dust.

Terms to know

Allergens
A substance that causes an allergic response. Examples include pollen, molds, and certain foods....
Allergic Reaction (Allergic Response)
Immune reaction to a substance that normally is harmless or would not cause an immune response in most people...
Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
Inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the nose due to allergy. The inflammation may also involve the muc...
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