WHAT YOU NEED TO
KNOW ABOUT THEM
By Lamiah Hall and Dr. Eric Griggs
What are allergies?
Allergies happen when your immune
system reacts to foreign substances that
most people would not react to. Your
immune system has its own defenses that
are triggered when a harmful substance
is in the body. These are called antibodies.
When specific allergens (substances
that cause an allergic reaction) enter the
body, these antibodies are activated and
your body begins to defend itself against
them. The normal immune response is
What are allergens?
Allergens are the substances that
cause a person’s body to have an immune
response. The reaction to the allergens
varies depending on the person and the
What are the most common
allergens (substances that cause
• Pollen is mostly seasonal. People with
pollen allergies only have symptoms
during the seasons where pollen is
• Dust mites are everywhere. People
with dust mite allergies normally
have symptoms in very dusty places.
• Mold can trigger a very severe reaction,
depending on the person. If
mold is present the person will have
an allergic reaction.
• Pet dander, this allergy depends
on the person and the pet. Some
people are allergic to cats and/or dogs
only but may not be allergic to any
• Food allergies are very common.
The severity of the allergic reaction
depends on the food and the person.
• Insect stings usually cause a large
area of swelling at the sting site.
• Medicine allergies are usually
unknown until a person has an
allergic reaction to a particular
medication. These allergies vary
depending on the person and
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms vary depending on the
allergen involved. An allergic reaction can
affect your airways, sinuses and nasal
passages, skin and digestive system. Hay
fever is a reaction that can cause sneezing;
itchy nose, eyes or the roof of the
mouth; runny or stuffy nose; or watery,
red or swollen eyes.
Food allergies can cause tingling in
the mouth; swelling of the lips, tongue,
face or throat; hives (red itchy bumps on
your skin); or anaphylaxis (a severe allergic
reaction). An insect sting allergy can
cause a large area of swelling at the sting
site, itching or hives all over the body,
cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness
of breath or anaphylaxis.
A drug allergy can cause hives, itchy
skin, a rash, facial swelling, wheezing or
anaphylaxis. An allergic skin condition
(also called eczema), can cause skin to
itch, redden, flake or peel.
Welcome to “Health Talkin’
with Doc Griggs.” In conjunction
with the Xavier University
School of Pharmacy Health
& Wellness Center, we will
discuss topics that we find
most relevant in our community.
Our shared goal is to
help you Get Checked. Get
Fit. Get Moving!™
MAY / J U N E 2 0 1 9 breakthrumediamagazine.com | BREAKTHRU MEDIA | 13