Allergic reactions are a result of allergy antibodies. The body makes antibodies against foreign substances that are possibly harmful. Most allergens are not harmful to the body at all, but the body thinks they are, so it forms an attack against these things. The antibody associated with allergies is the IgE antibody. When you experience allergy symptoms, it is a result of IgE production. IgE antibodies make a chemical that creates the itching, sneezing, and all the symptoms that we know as an allergic reaction. Understanding the role of the immune system as it relates to your allergies, may help you get a handle on them.
Structure of an Antibody
Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins that are important for fighting off infection in the body. There are five different types of antibodies. The antibodies are IgE, IgG, IgD, IgA, and IgM. They each attack very specific things. Not all the antibodies are Y-shaped, but three out of the five are. They have specific functions and are found in specific places in the body. When you come in contact with a foreign substance, antibodies result depending on what the substance is. IgE antibodies always result when you are exposed to an allergen. Some people do not have allergies and others are allergic to everything. It is all about your immune system. As your immune system develops, it begins to recognize what is foreign and what is not. Sometimes the body does not recognize certain things and will form an attack against it, even if the substance is not harmful.
The immune system plays a major role in your allergic reactions. The body creates a response as a way to defend itself from something that poses a threat. The first step of the immune system is to identify a foreign invader. Once an allergen is identified, the body reacts with an increased amount of IgE antibodies. It is considered an overreaction. It is called an overreaction because IgE is made even though the allergen is not harmful. Once IgE is made, it attaches to the allergen. Once the allergen attaches to the IgE, it makes histamines.
You are probably familiar with histamines because of anti-histamine medications. The allergen does not cause any symptoms; the histamines cause the symptoms. It is like the body makes an unnecessary immune response and creates more problems. Those histamines get into the sinus cavity and create all kinds of problems. The symptoms that result is troublesome and has to be treated.
If you have allergies, you know the symptoms are terrible. You have itchiness in the eyes and nose. Your eyes may water, and the nose may start running. If you do not treat these symptoms, you may develop a sinus infection or ear infection. Sometimes the immune response is severe. In a severe reaction, you may have diarrhea or vomiting. You may also experience severe cramps. Worst case scenarios make the throat narrow. You can start sweating or have chills. It is important to seek medical attention because you do not want to go into shock.
The best way to treat most allergic reactions is with anti-histamines. These medications are over-the-counter. They counteract the histamines produced by IgE antibodies and calm down the immune response. If you suffer from environmental allergies, you may want to take medication before even being exposed to the environment. Taking medication beforehand allows the medication to get down into the system, so you avoid all the other symptoms. There are many different medications, so you have to choose the one that works best for you. If your allergies are severe, you should probably take shots just to help with your symptoms.
IgE antibodies seem like a negative thing, but it is great. Antibodies, in general, are necessary. If you do not have antibodies, your body will not be able to fight off infection. If you do not have allergies, it does not mean your body does not have IgE antibodies; it just means that your body is responding appropriately to things. The response of IgE antibodies is different from other antibody responses only because it is a response that is not particularly necessary. If your body did not respond to allergens, you would be better off, which may be odd to say, but it’s true.
Allergies are an annoyance for everyone who has them. The problem with allergies is that without an allergic response, you would be okay. There is no cure for allergies, but there are treatments that are very effective in controlling the IgE response. Sometimes understanding the background on things gives you a better understanding of how they are treated. If you are an allergy sufferer, make sure to get medication to help you control your symptoms. There is no way to reverse an allergic response, but controlling it will benefit you greatly.
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