What Exactly Is An Allergy? - Lifelab Testing

What Exactly Is An Allergy?

Last Updated: 8th December 2022 · Written by Donna Mastriani

We’ve all heard people talking about having ‘allergies’. It’s quite a common thing in the modern age, but the true definition of what an allergy actually is, is lost on many. So, in an attempt to address that in some small way, we look now at the paradigm of allergies in closer detail.

According to Dictionary.com, an allergy is:

“An abnormal reaction of the body to a previously encountered allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, injection, or skin contact”

Essentially, an allergy is the body’s reaction to something it comes into contact with via ingestion, breathing or touching. One of the main variables in the equation is exactly what causes the reaction and there are lots of things that can trigger an attack.

The Symptoms

An allergic reaction can be as mild as a runny nose and as severe as anaphylactic shock, which can be potentially life threatening. There are many different grades of allergic reaction.

Mild reactions tend to affect very localised areas of the body and can result in irritation to soft tissue around the eyes, nose and mouth.

Moderate reactions however, can be transmitted to other parts of the body and can involve respiratory distress.

Severe reactions are quite rare and can be very sudden. The symptoms are much more acute and can develop into serious cramping, vomiting and abdominal pain. It can also include swelling, which can be a serious complication when it’s in the throat. Anaphylaxis, the most severe symptom, comes with muscle spasms, dizziness and a sharp drop in blood pressure.

Types of Allergies

Another variable is exactly what the source of the allergy is. There are quite a number of kinds of allergy, so it’s important to know which you have.


There are unfortunately, many foods that can trigger an allergic reaction, but they tend to be from the same type of proteins found in wheat, milk, eggs and nuts, as well as shellfish, beans, corn and some berries. This type of reaction usually presents as coughing, itchy eyes, stomach cramps and gastric distress. Some reactions can be more severe and potentially dangerous, meaning knowledge of your own triggers is imperative.


An allergy to drugs can occur when antibiotics are administered or when sulfa drugs (used to treat a host of ailments, including arthritis) are given.

Skin Contact

Issues like eczema and dermatitis occur when the skin comes directly into contact with an allergen. It can be a rash caused by a change in washing powder or more serious hives and swelling of various parts of the body, and can be brought on by pets, pollen and even stress.

Knowledge is Power

Knowing what triggers an allergy is as important as knowing how to treat one. It means that you can take steps to avoid whatever it is. It could be pollen causing you problems or mould or even dust in the air (which you can never eliminate completely), but the culprit can just as easily be a foodstuff, which is far easier to keep your distance from.

Plainly put, knowledge is power. Identifying substances your body can’t deal with very well, is the only quick way to eliminate the cause and start enjoying an allergy free life.

How do you find out for sure?

At Lifelabtesting.com, we perform comprehensive testing and blood testing to really get to the heart of the problem and it doesn’t cost the earth either. From as little as £75, we will produce a medically approved report on over 25 different possible allergens.

A small price to pay when compared against a lifetime of suffering the negative effects of allergic reactions. Visit http://www.lifelabtesting.com to find out more or to have a ‘live chat’ with one of our team.

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