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Thursday 21 January 2021

An Easy Guide to Understanding Allergies

An introduction to what allergies are and how they can be diagnosed by use of a home blood test kit.
Image by cenczi from Pixabay 

{This is a paid collaboration with Klarify}

It's reported that over 20% of the UK population is affected by one or more allergy (1) nowadays. I find this a staggering figure and the growth has been rapid over the last few decades. I suspect none of us have managed to go through life without being impacted by allergies. One of my earliest memories is of my Nan being stung by a bee whilst we were shopping on a summers day. Within 30 minutes we were calling an ambulance for her as she had gone into analphaltic shock. It was a scary experience that has stayed with me and reminded me never to underestimate the potential severity of allergies.

I, personally, had manged to live an allergy free life until I was 41 and developed asthma; my GP and I believe this was bought on by the gasses and pollen emitted from the rape seed fields that I had moved close to and decided to take a walk though to appreciate their beauty. Even with a pretty mild case of intermittent asthma I've realised that there are life changing implications of having allergies. 

What is an allergy?

You can go through most of your life allergy-free and then all of a sudden your immune system is exposed to something new and it becomes sensitised and can go on to evelop an allergy. Simply put, an allergy is an overreaction of your immune system to a substance that is normally harmless. The first time you are exposed to this substance, that we'll now refer to as an allergen, your immune system memorises the particular structure of the allergen so that it can produce specific IgE antibodies in defence. This is called sensitisation.

Each time in the future that your body is exposed to this allergen it will produce IgE and some people can go through life sensitised to a substance/ allergen but never experience any symptoms and thus it is not an allergy, as they don't have any outward or adverse impact to being sensitised.  Other people will have symptoms and thus they have an allergy. Your allergies can flare u and subside throughout your life.