Allergy/Asthma Information Association

Click to view Dust, Pet and Mold Allergies brochure.

What is allergy?

Allergies occur when the immune system becomes unusually sensitive and overreacts to common substances that are normally harmless, such as pollens, molds, dust or food. Genetic tendency plays a role since allergies tend to run in families. Allergy develops when exposure to certain substances leads to sensitivity. These substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.

The immune system produces various antibodies. The antibody that is involved in allergic reactions is called IgE. During an allergic reaction allergens come into contact with special cells called "mast cells" that are found in the lining of the nose, lungs, skin and intestinal tract. The IgE antibodies that are attached to these cells cause the release of many chemicals, including histamine, which results in inflammation and symptoms of allergy.

Depending on the individual and the particular allergen, allergy symptoms can occur in the upper and lower respiratory tracts, the skin, digestive system and other organs. Each individual is different. For example in the case of cat allergy, one person might have symptoms affecting the nose while another might have wheezing in the chest.

Some allergies develop after a long period of exposure while others often seem to develop after a relatively short exposure. Some are life-long while others may subside over time. Once sensitization occurs, avoidance of allergens is the best way to prevent symptoms.

Allergy and Asthma: Managing Risks

by Mary Allen, CEO AAIA, Montreal, Quebec. Orginally appeared in the Toronto Star.

Dust, Pet and Mold AllergiesDust, Pet and Mold Allergies (PDF version will open in a new window)

Our multipage brochure about several common allergies.

Atopic Dermatitis - Eczema

by Dr. Liliane Gendreau-Reid, MD, FRCPC Pediatrics; FRCPC Clinical Immunology & Allergy; Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics UBC, Victoria, BC

Eosinophilic Esophagitis

by Dr. Harold Kim, Allergist, Kitchener, Ontario

Cosmetic Allergies — Is Soap Really Good for You?

The first of a series of articles designed to help AAIA members better understand cosmetic allergies. [read more...]

Allergic Rhinitis

by Dr. Harold Kim, Kitchener, Ontario

Learn the link:

Managing your asthma and your seasonal allergies. Next link will open in a new window[read more...]

Rhinitis: The Facts

by Liliane Gendreau-Reid, MD, Victoria, BC

Airborne Allergens Avoidance Tips

by Liliane Gendreau-Reid, MD, Victoria, BC

Hives (Urticaria)

Hives are a common occurrence, affecting up to 25% of the population at least once in their lives. They can be short term, lasting only a few days to six weeks, but they can be chronic and last for months or years. [read more...]

Allergy Season — It can affect your thinking !!!

by George Luciuk, MD, FRCPC

Does Allergy Protect Against Cancer?

by Dr. Susan Waserman, MD, FRCP, Hamilton, Ontario

Drug Allergy: How You Can Help Your Allergist Make the Diagnosis

by Amin S. Kanani, MDCM, FRCPC

The Positive Side of Being Allergic

by Robin Bayley, Victoria, British Columbia

Are you allergic to cats?

from an article by Thomas A E Platts-Mills, Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center, University VA Medical Center, Charlottesville, VA

Scents in the Workplace

Individuals who are affected by allergic rhinitis and asthma may find that strong scents trigger their symptoms. [read more...]

The Hygiene Hypothesis

At the CSACI Annual Scientific Meeting held in Ottawa in October 2004, there was an interesting debate on the Hygiene Hypothesis by two experts in the field of allergy. These are some of the main arguments. Reported by Mary Allen. [read more...]

Tips to reduce mold exposure

Ten things you can do. [read more...]

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