An allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not considered harmful.
Allergies are relatively common, occurring in about 20 out of every 100 people (20% of the population).

What causes an allergy?

You can be allergic to pollen (see hay fever), dust, pet dander, mold, food and certain medications. 


Allergy symptoms, which depend on the substance involved, can affect your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and digestive system. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In some severe cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Allergy treatments include:

  • Allergen avoidance.
  • Medications.
  • Immunotherapy.
  • Emergency epinephrine.


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