Allergies are hypersensitive reactions to substances which are usually harmless to the body and which can lead to unpleasant allergic reactions such as itchy skin rashes.
With an allergy, the body reacts to an actually harmless substance (allergen), such as pollen, flour or metal, with an overreaction. The body’s defense system produces antibodies that lead to allergic reactions over time. This can be sneezing, tears, or itching/swelling of the mouth and throat, or reddened skin. These symptoms are often referred to as hay fever, although not always caused by a pollen allergy. As long as it remains so, an allergy is above all only annoying and can temporarily reduce physical and mental performance. In some, very rare cases, the allergic reaction can be so severe that a life-threatening allergic shock (anaphylaxis) is triggered.
Allergy tests (skin prick tests and blood tests) can be used to find the cause of the allergy and initiate therapy. Often one will try to avoid the trigger, but if this is not possible in everyday life, medication or a hyposensitization (desensitization) is recommended, which has a similar effect as an immunization with a vaccination. According to studies, allergies have increased significantly in recent decades.