Allergies Data Verified

Allergy - the Term Explained in a Scientific Way

Written by
Dr. Parin Niranjanbhai Parmar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Jan 30, 2017 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  1 min read


Due to the widespread use of the term allergy, there are many misconceptions about allergic disorders among patients and the general population. This article aims to explain allergy in a scientific way, but in simple language and with examples.

Allergy - the Term Explained in a Scientific Way

Allergic disorders are very common and are increasing worldwide. The term allergy is also very commonly used by doctors, patients and the general population. However, the liberal use of the word allergy has created many misconceptions and confusions about allergies.

Allergy is an immunological disorder where there is an abnormally exaggerated response by the immune system towards harmless substances, which are usually proteins. Two things which have to be very clear are as follows:

  1. An allergy is towards harmless substances, say milk, wheat, peanut, house dust mites, moulds, pollens, etc.
  2. It is an immune reaction and it has nothing to do with only something outside, but it is the immune system that is working abnormally.

So, if one experiences exacerbation of asthma after exposure to cigarette smoke, one is not allergic to cigarette smoke as cigarette smoke is not a harmless substance and immune system does not play an active role against smoke. Smoke, strong smells, air pollution, etc., can worsen asthma or respiratory allergies by causing irritation rather than by causing allergy.

If one develops itching and rash after consuming artificially flavored milk, but otherwise one can drink milk without any problem, then the reaction to the flavored milk is most likely due to chemical properties of the flavor or essence of the milk. Such reaction is not a true allergy and one's immune system is usually normal.

Allergic disorders in children include allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, atopic dermatitis, food allergies, allergic urticaria or angioedema, anaphylaxis, drug allergies, latex allergy and miscellaneous ones.

To know more about allergy, consult an allergy specialist online -->


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Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  1 min read




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