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Guide for doctors

  • Allergy

    Allergic reaction is an over-reaction of the body, through immune mechanisms, to different external factors which are called allergens. Substances from dust, pollen, food proteins, etc., are foreign to the human body. They are called antigens.

    In certain percent of the population, the fight between the antigens and antibodies causes over-reaction or an “allergic” reaction. In case of allergic reactions, antigens are also called allergens.

    In order for sensitization to take place, the immune system of an organism must first come into contact with an allergen, then create memory and be prepared to defend itself the next time it encounters the same allergen. The time necessary for the sensitization to take place varies from person to person (anywhere from a few days up to several years), and is characterized by the creation of antibodies in response to external factors (allergens).

    Atopy is an immune disorder which is characterized by oversensitivity to common, harmless antigens of the environment.

    The discoveries which led to the introduction of the term “atopy” were published by Cooke and Van derVeer in 1916, in the first volume of the magazine “Journal of Immunology”. The authors described immediate skin reactivity to common allergens in patients who suffered from common allergic diseases and concluded that these people have special tendencies to naturally become overly sensitive to certain proteins which they are frequently exposed to in their environment. The term “atopy” was introduced by Coca and Cooke in 1923, in order to describe those findings.

    The famous allergist Jack Pepys described atopy as a type of immunological reactivity whose characteristic was fast production of IgE antibodies in response to common antigens from the environment.

    Therefore, the continuous and abundant production of IgE in response to the antigens from the environment is the key process underlying atopy. In order for the manifestation of atopic diseases to take place, besides the genetic predisposition, the environmental factors are necessary too.

    The most common allergens are pollen of grasses, trees, weeds, products of dust mites (dermatophagoides pteronnisinus), pets, food, medications, preservatives, toxins and insects.

    A lot of respiratory diseases are considered to be allergic diseases - asthma, rhinitis, skin allergies and food allergies.  

    Ambrosia as a risk factor in development of allergic diseases

    Ambrosia (lat. Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is a genus of invasive weeds, one of the most common and most dangerous allergic plants in the world. It is a hardy annual plant, from 20cm up to 2m high. It sprouts from the middle of April and flourishes till late summer and fall.

    Ambrosia pollen causes allergies in humans. With sensitive individuals, 20-30 pollen grains in one square meter can cause allergic reactions, and one plant only can produce more than a few million grains. With the help of wind it can spread to the area of a few square kilometers.

    Ambrosia pollen is considered to be one of the specific agents which pollute the air. Non-specific agents such as SO2, NO2, CO2, with the effect of UV rays, cause increased pollen production and by that an increased number of allergic proteins.

    Ambrosia primarily inhabits untouched and neglected terrain. The most efficient way of destroying it is pulling it from the roots.

    With people who are allergic to ambrosia, the symptoms most commonly start in August and are manifested in respiratory organs, eyes and skin (allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma and urticaria).

    It is important to state that the therapy should begin at the very start of ambrosia flowering or 7-10 days prior to it, that is, before the problems start.

     

 
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