Understanding our immune system
Although at any given moment of the day there is a wide range of foreign substances invading our bodies most thankfully do not cause any negative affects. When something does enter our body and trigger an immune system reaction we call it an allergen or antigen.
These allergens can enter our bodies through the air we breathe, through the foods or liquids we ingest, through the drugs, medicines or vaccines we receive, insect bites or stings and through things that come into contact with our skin.
Under normal circumstances when an allergen enters our bodies, our immune system begins reacting, to protect our bodies, by attacking the allergen with specifically programmed antibodies that are called immunoglobulins. There are five different types of immunoglobulins that each contributes in different ways to the body's immune system. The immunoglobulin responsible for allergic reactions is known as E or IgE. This immunoglobulin along with mast cells (found primarily in the mucous membranes of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts), basophils (a type of white cell) and eosinophils (other white cells) plays a major role in allergic reactions.
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