Learn about Allergy

What is Allergy?

When a person has a physical reaction to a substance that comes into contact with their body, that would usually not cause a reaction in most people, we call this hypersensitivity. If the hypersensitivity reaction happens because the persons immune system is involved in the process then we call this allergy. If the immune system is not involved then the hypersensitivity reaction may be called an ‘intolerance’.

Examples of these types of reactions include peanut allergy and intolerance to caffeine. The allergy reactions that involve the immune system may be caused by an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE), or they may be due to another immune process. The allergic reactions that we are familiar with, for instance, allergy to beestings, pollens, peanuts, milk, eggs, latex or house dust mites are typically due to a mechanism involving IgE.