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Allergies - When the immune system goes crazy

Anyone who has an allergy knows that it can really bother you. The body tries only to defend itself - against completely harmless substances.

The body's defenses are mixed up in an allergy - it is directed against actually harmless substances such as bee pollen or house dust
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The focal point of allergic complaints is our immune system, an ingenious and well-rehearsed protective force of our organism. Because it pounces on bacteria, viruses and fungi, which can trigger a variety of diseases - usually. With an allergy, however, the body's defenses lose track.

It is suddenly directed against substances that are basically harmless, such as pollen, house dust or food components. Suddenly the immune system attacks these substances, mostly foreign proteins. Experts call these allergens. But not enough that the immune system is even directed against such intruders. It also exaggerates at work too much.

His nose is running, his eyes are watering

First of all, we do not notice anything of an onset of allergy. The immune system prepares itself silently, so to speak. Every allergy is preceded by a phase of sensitization. If the body meets the allergen for the first time, it will get in tune and initially form antibodies. These should help to attack the supposedly dangerous substance as soon as possible in the event of renewed contact. At the next meeting we suddenly feel the signs. Certain defense cells, so-called mast cells, are mainly located in the connective tissue of the skin and in the mucous membranes. Upon contact with the allergen, the immune system now induces them to release larger amounts of the messenger histamine. This in turn triggers inflammatory reactions. It comes to the typical allergy symptoms: the mucous membranes swell, the nose starts to run, the conjunctiva is irritated and the eyes itch and tear. Other reactions include itching, redness of the skin and respiratory distress. Unlike defending against "normal" pathogens, an allergic reaction does not kill the intruders or build protection against them. The problems therefore persist as long as the allergens pollute the organism - and reappear whenever contact is made again and again.

And unfortunately, it is not unlikely that the defense, which already plays crazy, on more and more harmless substances. So it is that allergy sufferers are becoming more sensitive to more substances.

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