||Information for patients with allergy and related
in the Southwest
Allergens - Proteins or glycoproteins
capable of causing an allergic reaction as in allergic rhinitis or asthma, usually
produced by pollen, mold spores, house dust mites, furry pets and cockroaches.
Allergic Rhinitis - Also known as
hay fever. Usual symptoms include nasal stuffiness, runny nose, sneezing, itching in
the nose and throat, itchy, watery red eyes, fatigue, headache. Symptoms
usually vary seasonally but can be present perennially when allergic to allergens
year-round. Complications: sinusitis,
laryngitis, bronchitis, asthma symptoms.
Anaphylaxis - A
severe allergic reaction that can include hives, swelling in the throat, difficulty
breathing, wheezing, fainting and loss of blood pressure. It may be caused by
allergy to medications, foods or insect stings, and can have no obvious cause
(idiopathic). For more information see article
on AAAAI website
Antibodies - Proteins produced by an immune system cell in the body, capable of
combining specifically with a substance foreign to the body such as an allergen or
Antihistamines - Drugs that block the
effects of histamine on blood vessels, sensory nerves, and glands that secrete mucus.
Antihistamines used for allergy are in the H1 class of antihistamines, as distinct from H2
antihistamines, which block stomach acid secretion.
Anti-inflammatory drugs - When used
for asthma, these drugs reduce inflammation in the airways by controlling the effects of
cells such as lymphocytes and eosinophils that cause inflammation. Their main
benefit is reduction of irritability of the lungs and improvement of lung function.
Asthma - Symptoms including cough,
chest tightness, and wheezing, caused mainly by inflammation and excessive irritability of
bronchi (main air passages in the lung). Asthma symptoms may be provoked by
allergens (usually inhaled), virus infection, exercise, cold air and airborne
pollutants. They tend to be worse at night.
Bronchodilator drugs - Drugs that open up
constricted airways by relaxing smooth muscle spasm in bronchial walls.
Cytokines - Substances produced during an
allergic and other inflammatory reactions that modify the functions of cells to amplify
Eosinophil - An inflammatory cell in the blood
that is attracted to the site of allergic reactions and participates in allergic
Hay Fever - allergic rhinitis.
Histamine - Substance released from mast cells
during an allergic reaction. It causes itching, sneezing, increased mucous
production, and nasal congestion. Antihistamine drugs help to block the effects of
IgE antibody - A type of antibody that is produced when one
is exposed to an allergen. This type of antibody takes part in allergic
Leukotrienes - Substances produced by mast
cells during an allergic reaction. They contribute to most of the features of
allergic reactions and cause bronchial constriction in asthma
Lymphocyte - A cell found in the
blood and in lymphoid organs such as lymph nodes, tonsil and spleen that plays a central
role in the functioning of the immune system.
Mast cell - A specialized cell found in tissues. It
causes allergic reactions when activated by allergens that bind to IgE antibodies on the
cell surface. Activation of the cell is followed by release of histamine and other
substances that cause symptoms of allergy.
Pollen - Microscopic particles from the male flower
that can fertilize the female flower to produce seed. Allergenic pollen is usually
from wind-pollinated plants.
Sinusitis - Infection in the cavities of facial
bones. Symptoms include pressure or pain around or below the eyes, persistent yellow
nasal discharge, mucus drainage in the throat, and nasal stuffiness.
Urticaria - Hives. A rash consisting of irregularly shaped
itchy wheals that come and go within a 24 hour period. Chronic urticaria is
urticaria that persists for 3 or more months continuously, usually with no obvious
external cause, and sometimes found to be due to an autoimmune process in the body.
Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes
only. Any information that you have found in this web site is not intended to
replace medical care or advice given to you by your own physicians. You should consider
consulting your local medical library and other web sites for additional
Comments and suggestions welcome! Email: email@example.com
Content Owner: Michael J. Schumacher, MB, FRACP, The
University of Arizona