Our immune system defends and protects us from attack from foreign substances, such as viruses and bacteria. It produces antibodies that seek and destroy intruders, and thereafter protects us from future attacks. An allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to a normally harmless substance, and triggers what in reality is an inappropriate and unnecessary response.
Substances that trigger allergic reactions are called allergens, and these can include such things as house dust mites, pollen, cat and dog fur, bee and wasp stings, feathers and a variety of foods.
The antibodies produced by the immune system can cause the release of some irritating substances, such as histamine, which produce redness, heat and swelling, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath, a runny or blocked up nose, watery and bloodshot eyes, rash, itchiness, diarrhoea, and vomiting.
Food intolerance is less serious than an allergy. The symptoms are less serious, including headaches, muscle and joint pains, and tiredness. But it remains an inappropriate response - the body is not responding normally, or as it should do.
Anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, is a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction to an allergen, where there can be a sudden drop in blood pressure and the narrowing of the airways. It can be triggered by foods such as peanuts, nuts, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, dairy products, eggs and strawberries, or by an allergic reaction to wasp or bee stings.
Allergies include a wide range of medical conditions such as Rhinitis, Hay Fever, and Asthma.
Allergy in the UK has reached epidemic proportions
According to the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology's report, published in July 2007, "the prevalence and incidence of allergic disease have markedly increased over the past 50 years", and that evidence presented to the Committee showed that "an increasing prevalence of asthma was first noted in studies of Birmingham school children, starting in the mid 1950s," and that since then "the prevalence of asthma and wheezing appears to have doubled "approximately every 14 years" until the mid 1990s. It added that the trends for other disorders such as hay fever and eczema are similar.
The report estimated that in 2004 the scale of the "allergy epidemic" showed that 39% of children and 30% of adults had been diagnosed with one or more of asthma, eczema and hayfever; and 38% of children and 45% of adults had experienced symptoms of these disorders during the preceding 12 months. The committee commented that the treatment of allergic disorders costs the NHS a considerable amount of money each year.
Clearly, this describes the development of an epidemic that began shortly after Big Pharma drugs became freely available through the NHS. It is known and even admitted that anaphylaxis can be triggered by certain drugs, such as penicillin. And the increase in conditions described as 'auto-immune' disease, suggests that the culpability of pharmaceutical drugs is far greater than is recognised.
This article was first published for my e-book 'The Failure of Conventional Medicine'.