An allergy or allergic reaction is a heightened or overactive immune response to some kind of trigger called an allergen that the body sees as harmful.
Allergens can include pollen, dust, mold, animal dander, certain chemicals (e.g. latex) bee stings, or even foods like eggs and nuts.
Unfortunately, people that suffer from allergies have immune systems that are hypersensitive to certain chemicals. Instead of working to resist allergens effectively, people with allergies have immune systems that release high levels of histamines in response to these common harmless substances.
In an effort to get rid of the allergens, the body tries to forcefully eject these irritants through the eyes, nose, and mouth. As a result, these exit routes become inflamed leading to painful or uncomfortable symptoms.
A hypersensitive allergic reaction can also promote symptoms like itchy and watery eyes or throat and tongue swelling. Other allergic reactions can include severe and life-threatening complications like blocked airways and seizures.These allergic reactions may differ in severity of symptoms from person to person.
Researchers estimate that allergies effects about 30% of adults and 40% of children. Allergies are also the sixth leading cause of chronic disease.
Understanding Allergies and the Immune System
So what is the connection between the immune system and allergies?
Well, there are a few things to keep in mind…
Your body's immune system is always on guard against potential threats. When threats are spotted, your immune system attempts to quarantine the invader and/or expel it from your body.
However, a weak immune system is less able to fend off allergens at the first sign of exposure. It cannot respond to threats as quickly or effectively as a strong one. This leads to longer duration of illness or allergy symptoms like runny noses, sneezing, watery eyes, itching, swelling, etc.
Allergy symptoms are a pain. They can prevent you from activities you enjoy and lower your productivity. Solutions do exist, but they tend to treat the symptoms of our overactive allergic response.
Treating the Symptoms or Treating the Cause
The drugstores are filled to the brim with both over the counter and prescription medicines that help alleviate allergy symptoms. These medications may provide temporary relief but they don’t solve the underlying allergic response. They can also have dangerous side effects - causing more problems than they solve.
In fact, long-term antihistamine (anti-allergy symptom medication) use has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases. One recent study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that regular long-term antihistamine use among those reporting a history of asthma or allergies was significantly associated with an almost three-fold increase in the risk for anaplastic tumors.
This is troubling news about long-term antihistamine use that warrants a safer solution. Thankfully, we can lessen the severity of allergy symptoms by strengthening and giving a boost to your immune system instead.
How to Boost a Weak Immune System
Boosting a weak immune system involves taking a pro-health attitude when it comes to your daily habits.
Changes to diet, exercise, sleep, and stress levels can all add up to more manageable allergy symptoms. Learn more about how diet and exercise changes can help boost your immune system.
Additionally, immunotherapy, holistic lifestyle changes, and consuming natural supplements are all alternative ways to help you boost a weak immune system.