Allergies and anaphylaxis: A primer

Differences between the two calls for different management approaches

Our bodies are bombarded by a wide variety of allergens and pathogens every day. It is up to our immune system to fight off those bugs that intend to do us harm, either on purpose or as an unintended response.

Many of us have experienced allergies at some point in our lives. For the vast majority of the time, our bodies' immune response is nothing more than a mere nuisance, giving us watery eyes and stuffy noses as various enzymes and chemical reactions work to rid itself of foreign proteins found in pollen, for example.

On the other hand, allergies can become so severe that they can be life-threatening, a condition known as anaphylaxis. Let's look at the mechanisms that can cause this potentially deadly chain reaction. Check out the video below.

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