Allergies – when the body over-reacts

An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system is activated in reaction to a harmless foreign substance. The result is an overly sensitive immune response. Almost one in three people in Germany will have an allergy at some point in their lives. Apart from pollen, there are many other substances that can cause an allergic reaction.

What are the causes and symptoms of an allergy?

Substances that trigger allergies are called allergens. These are foreign substances which enter the body from the external environment.

There are different groups of allergens, for example:

Pollen season is hay fever season

From the time when trees and plants begin to bloom in the spring, many people suffer from hay fever – an allergic reaction of the upper airways to pollen. Hay fever is also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Insect bites can trigger nasty symptoms.

Although stings from bees and wasps are unpleasant, they are usually harmless. However, some people with an insect venom allergy will experience an overly sensitive immune response as a result of a sting. This can be life-threatening for some.

Food allergies – not every intolerance is an allergy

In some cases, the body may react sensitively to certain types of food without an allergy being involved. A careful medical diagnosis is essential to ensure proper treatment of symptoms.

Eczema is a typical sign of a contact allergy

If contact with metal in jewelry, latex gloves, soap, deodorant, or cleaning products causes eczema on the skin, this may be due to a contact allergy, also known as allergic contact dermatitis. The allergy is often related to a person’s occupation.