Monday, 27 February 2012

Why are we allergic to things?

On a massive Newton Faulkner hype, take a listen -

There are 2 types of allergies: Food allergies so peanuts, shellfish etc, and Non food allergies so pollen and dust etc.

Food allergies

You might find it interesting to know that the number of children allergic to peanuts has doubled in the last decade, this is due to an over reactive immune system.

Your body is in a constant battle with foreign things entering the body, I don't mean the Italian food you ate last week, I mean pathogens and proteins.

The structure of histamine
The body likes to be familiar with what it has in it, so as soon as it senses something shouldn't be there, it'll pounce on it like a tiger on a mouse.

Common things people are allergic include shellfish, milk, eggs, wheat etc. 

That's because they have proteins which your body isn't used to, and like I said before, it'll attack it. A by product of this attack is Histamines, and that's the nasty chemical which causes all your symptoms.

Why are so many people allergic to peanuts?

There is a significant higher number of people allergic to peanuts (myself included), and that's pretty strange. Most kids grow the allergy out as they become more accustomed to it in their daily life, for example, the boy next to you chomping on a peanut butter sandwich and you trying to edge as far away as possible!

The reason why peanuts is the most common allergy is that it has an army of unknown proteins to the body. Literally, it's like you walking into your house and seeing your friend's house interior.

Your body again jumps at these and histamines are again produced, giving you a horrible feeling.


Ige or Immunoglobulin E is your team of allergy killers. They're constantly on the lookout for any intruders in your body and ready to give them hell. But in that process, they release the chemical you are probably sick of hearing now: histamine

Why is the roof of my mouth so itchy?

This is simply a mild reaction to the food you're eating, most people get it with some fruits and it's the weird proteins your body doesn't recognise being under attack by IgE's. 

Can't drink milk?

Lactose intolerant is a fairly rare disorder. It's because of your enzymes which digest lactose, a type of sugar found in milk. 
  • You need a lot of milk during your younger years (to give you good bones and keep you big and strong!), anyway, because in prehistoric times milking cows wasn't a common thing, the only time to get milk was from your mum. And hopefully you've grown out of that!
  • Because you grow up, the amount of lactase you produce decreases, and therefore you can't digest the lactose. 
  • And then the bacteria make use of it, producing a load of gas and that'll make you fart like crazy.
Non food allergy

Hayfever and asthma are the two big ones, and they're quite related too. 

Being unlucky again, I also have hayfever.. And also asthma which I've kinda grown out of.

Pollen is the baddie as you probably know with hayfever, it irritates your sinuses giving you that horrible neverending itch in your nose!

 It's because of those IgE's and you guessed it, the histamine they produce!

Asthma is because of dust or other small particles which tickle the cells in your bronchus, and IgE's attack them because your air pathway so important. This makes the muscles in the bronchus restrict which means its harder to breathe, if the case is so severe, you have an asthma attack.

No comments:

Post a Comment