Allergies are an irregular immune response. Your body responds to a harmless substance as though it were harmful, bringing out the full arsenal of immune system tricks. And since most of the things that we associate with flu are actually our body’s immune response, we end up getting many flu-like symptoms.
But why do some people’s bodies make these mistakes? It’s hard to say for sure, but there are many theories.
The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
One theory about allergies is that they start when we get a chance exposure to a particular allergen that coincides with an infection by certain viruses. Your body is trying to learn what is dangerous and what is harmless. If it’s fighting off an infection and gets dosed with a lot of a particular allergen, the body might mistake the allergen for the harm, rather than or in addition to the virus itself.
Now that your body thinks these allergens are invaders it will attack them anytime they enter the body.
The Role of Genetics
But not everybody’s immune system is equally susceptible to getting confused. People with a genetic predisposition to allergies are more likely to develop them. If a person has one parent with allergies, they have about a one-third chance of developing allergies, while if both parents have allergies, the odds increase to about 70%.
The Hygiene Hypothesis
One difficult thing to explain is why allergies seem so much more common in developed nations than elsewhere in the world. One theory about this is that when we’re not exposed to a lot of pathogens during our childhood, our body is kind of spoiling for a fight it isn’t getting so it trumps one up.
This theory is far from proven, but it does have a lot of support.
The good news is that, no matter what causes them, allergies are very treatable, at least as far as the symptoms go. If you are looking for a primary care doctor to help you manage your allergies in Littleton, please contact Dr. andy Fine today for an appointment.