are the 6th leading cause of chronic disease in America with an
annual cost exceeding $18 billion. Allergies are believed to
complicate and even handicap the lives of nearly 50 million
children and adults.
reflect an overreaction of the immune system to substances that
usually cause no reaction in most individuals. These substances
can trigger sneezing, wheezing, coughing and itching. Allergies
are not only bothersome, but many have been linked to a variety
of common and serious chronic respiratory illnesses (such as
sinusitis and asthma). Additionally, allergic reactions can be
severe and even fatal. However, with proper management and
patient education, allergic diseases can be controlled, and
people with allergies can lead normal and productive lives.
baldness, height and eye color, the capacity to become allergic
is an inherited characteristic. Yet, although you may be born
with the genetic capability to become allergic, you are not
automatically allergic to specific allergens. Several factors
must be present for allergic sensitivity to be developed:
specific genes acquired from parents.
exposure to one or more allergens to which you have a
genetically programmed response.
degree and length of exposure.
excerpts taken from Asthma
& Allergy Foundation of America website.