Allergen

May 30, 2020, 10:34 93

An allergen is any substance (antigen), most often eaten or inhaled, that is recognized by the immune system and causes an allergic reaction.

Dust, pollen and pet dander are all common allergens, but it is possible to be allergic to anything.

Most humans mount significant IgE (immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a class of antibody) responses only as a defense against parasitic infections.

However, some individuals mount an IgE response against common environmental antigens.

This hereditory predisposition is called atopy.

In atopic individuals, non-parasitic antigens stimulate inappropriate IgE production, leading to type I hypersensitivity.

A nonparasitic antigen capable of stimulating a type I hypersensitivity reaction in atopic individuals is called an allergen.

Sensitivities vary from one person to another and it is possible to be allergic to an extraordinary range of substances.

Dust, pollen and pet dander are all common allergens, but it is possible to be allergic to anything from chlorine to perfume.

Food allergies are not as common as food sensitivity, but some foods such as peanuts (really a legume), nuts, seafood and shellfish are the cause of serious allergies in many people.

Officially, the Food and Drug Administration does recognize 8 foods as being common for allergic reactions in a large segment of the sensitive population, which includes, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, shellfish, fish, wheat and their derivatives, soy and their derivatives, and sulphites (chemical based, often found in flavors and colors in foods) at 10ppm and over. 

It should be noted that other countries, due to differences in genetic profiles of its citizens and different levels of exposure to different foods, the "official" allergen list will change.

Canada recognizes all eight of the allergens recognized by the US, and also recognizes Sesame Seeds.

Poison ivy is a plant that will cause an allergic reaction in 70-85% of humans.

But, given enough repeated contact—like any allergy, most human bodies will learn to fight the allergen.

An allergic reaction can be caused by any form of direct contact with the allergen—eating or drinking a food you are sensitive to (ingestion), breathing in pollen, perfume or pet dander (inhalation), or brushing your body against an allergy-causing plant (direct contact, generally resulting in hives).

Other common causes of serious allergy are wasp, fire ant and bee stings, penicillin, and latex.

An extremely serious form of an allergic reaction, which can kill in mere minutes, is called anaphylaxis.

One form of treatment is the administration of sterile epinephrine (via "Epi-Pen") to the person experiencing anaphylaxis, which suppresses the body's overreaction to the food ingested, and allows for time to be transported to a medical facilty (it does not "cure" the allergic reaction).

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Types of allergens

Allergens can be found in a variety of sources, such as dust mite excretion, pollen, pet dander, or even royal jelly. Food allergies are not as common as food sensitivity, but some foods such as peanuts (a legume), nutsseafood and shellfish are the cause of serious allergies in many people.

Officially, the United States Food and Drug Administration does recognize eight foods as being common for allergic reactions in a large segment of the sensitive population. These include peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, shellfish, fish, wheat and their derivatives, and soy and their derivatives, as well as sulfites (chemical-based, often found in flavors and colors in foods) at 10ppm and over. See the FDA website for complete details. Other countries, in view of the differences in the genetic profiles of their citizens and different levels of exposure to specific foods due to different dietary habits, the "official" allergen list will change. Canada recognizes all eight of the allergens recognized by the US, and also recognizes sesame seeds, and mustard. The European Union additionally recognizes other gluten-containing cereals as well as celery and lupin.

Another allergen is urushiol, a resin produced by poison ivy and poison oak, which causes the skin rash condition known as urushiol-induced contact dermatitis by changing a skin cell's configuration so that it is no longer recognized by the immune system as part of the body. Various trees and wood products such as paper, cardboard, MDF etc. can also cause mild to severe allergy symptoms through touch or inhalation of sawdust such as asthma and skin rash.

An allergic reaction can be caused by any form of direct contact with the allergen—consuming food or drink one is sensitive to (ingestion), breathing in pollen, perfume or pet dander (inhalation), or brushing a body part against an allergy-causing plant (direct contact). Other common causes of serious allergy are waspfire ant  and bee stings, penicillin, and latex. An extremely serious form of an allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. One form of treatment is the administration of sterile epinephrine to the person experiencing anaphylaxis, which suppresses the body's overreaction to the allergen, and allows for the patient to be transported to a medical facility.

Common allergens

In addition to foreign proteins found in foreign serum (from blood transfusions) and vaccines, common allergens include:

 

 

 

 

References.

1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/allergen.htm

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allergen