The word ‘allergy’ means an altered or abnormal tissue reaction after exposure to a foreign antigen. An allergic reaction may occur when there is contract between a foreign protein – an allergen – and body tissues that are sensitive to it.
The allergens may reach the tissuesby direct contact with the skin or mucous membranes, or through the blood stream after absorption.
Allergic reactions may occur within a few minutes of the patient coming in contact with the allergen or they may be delayed for several hours or even several days. Almost any part of the body can be affected by allergies.
The portion of the body which is affected is called a shock organ. Common sites are nose and eyes, the skin, chest, intestines, and ears.
Allergic reactions are caused by a wide range of substances and conditions. These include pollen, dust, cosmetics, and animal hair; poisonous plants, serums, vaccines and drugs; physical agents such as heat, cold and sunlight; as well as a variety of foods.
Food and Allergy
The protein component of a food is considered to be the causative factor in food allergy, although foods which cause an allergic reaction may vary widely in protein content. Also, allergic response to a food may be either immediate or delayed.
Among the numerous allergens in the food department, the more common ones are oranges, milk, eggs, wheat, fish, chocolates, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries. Additives and refinements are also responsible for the rise in allergies.
The trouble is not only in the foods themselves, but in what is done to them. They are sprayed gassed, coloured, preserved for longer life and generally perverted.