Health Discoveries in General Health News

Widespread allergies affect all ages

October 28, 2009
When spring comes around, people casually shrug off bouts of sneezing and itchy eyes and say it's their "hay fever" acting up.

But the pollen in springtime is only one of hundreds of substances encountered in daily life that can set off an allergic reaction in people of all ages. Among the most common categories of allergens are molds, household dust, animal proteins such as cat dander, industrial chemicals, foods, medicines and insect stings.

When an allergy occurs, a person's immune system mistakenly reacts to a normally harmless substance as something that can do damage to the body.

In the same way doctors conduct skin and blood tests on their patients to measure antibodies that are reacting to the allergens that irritate them, hospitals conduct widespread testing to research allergies.

Currently, through the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health Systems, one such clinical trial on milk and egg allergies is taking place to determine why blood cells cause individuals to have allergic reactions to these foods, and if those allergies can be lessened.

The institute, as the research branch of health system, conducts biomedical research at two academic medical centers, North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
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