Allergies are caused by an abnormal or exaggerated immune reaction to a stimulus or substance which results in an allergic response. This substance is called an allergen.
Common allergens include pollens, pet dander, dust, cockroach, molds, stinging insect venom, latex, foods, and medicines such as penicillin.
Allergic disease often is associated with a strong genetic predisposition or family history. If one parent has allergies, the offspring have at least a 40% chance of having allergic disease. In cases where both parents have an history of allergy, there is a 70-80% risk of their children also having allergies, The children of allergic patients have an increased risk for the development of some type of allergic disease. But, they do not always have the same type of allergy as their parents.
Food allergy and eczema are often seen in early infancy and childhood. Allergic rhinitis or “Hayfever” can also be seen early in life, but is more common at or after age 3 years. Essentially, any type of allergic disease can develop at any time.
Allergy is often seen in asthmatics. It is believed that 70-80% of asthma patients have allergic disease! In addition, up to 40% of allergic rhinitis sufferers can go on to develop some degree of asthma! So, evaluation and treatment of allergic disease can help reduce and or prevent asthma symptoms in most patients.