How Allergies Work

Allergies are the result of a hypersensitive immune system. Get health tips with staying healthy pictures.
Discovery Health

A properly functioning immune system is a well-trained and disciplined biological warfare unit for the body. The immune system is really quite amazing. It is able to identify and destroy many foreign invaders. The immune system can also identify cells that are infected internally with viruses, as well as many cells that are on their way to becoming tumors. It does all of this work so the body remains healthy.

As amazing as the immune system is, it sometimes makes mistakes. Allergies are the result of a hypersensitive immune system. The allergic immune system misidentifies an otherwise innocuous substance as harmful, and then attacks the substance with a ferocity far greater than required. The problems this attack can cause range from mildly inconvenient and uncomfortable to the total failure of the organism the immune system is supposed to be protecting.

In this article, we'll examine the most established school of thought on what makes up the condition referred to as an allergy. A defining premise of this school of thought is that allergic symptoms are always triggered by a protein.