An allergy is a reaction of your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing. Substances that often cause reactions include pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, food, insect stings, medicines.

How do you get allergies? Scientists think both genes and the environment have something to do with it. Normally, your immune system fights germs. It is your body's defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, it is responding to a false alarm.

Allergies can cause a runny nose, sneezing, itching, rashes, swelling or asthma. Symptoms vary. Although allergies can make you feel bad, they usually won't kill you. However, a severe reaction called anaphylaxis is life-threatening.

Source: MedlinePlus

Note: This topic was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. This site is not responsible for the information on other sites. The information here — and on all websites — is not intended to be a substitute for care given to you by a health professional.

Recommended Reading

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Includes fact sheets that you can print out on various topics related to allergies, asthma and immunology.

American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Check out this site for information on various allergies, interactive quizzes and finding an allergist.

Allergies and Children

Children and Allergies
This link from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology website covers common symptoms, allergies at school, food allergies and more.

Asthma and Allergies in Children
This link takes you to the American Academy of Pediatrics website where you can search for information on common allergy triggers and ways to reduce them.

Food Allergies

Information About Food Allergies
This link on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website offers the latest news on food allergies from the FDA.

About Food Allergies
Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) is a group that promotes awareness of food allergies and anaphylaxis. This website has answers to many common questions.

Allergies and Food Sensitivities
This link from the Food and Nutrition Information Center offers articles, cookbooks and resources for both adults and children.

Other Resources

Allergy Information, National Jewish Health
Information about common allergies is available from a major medical center in Denver.

Mayo Clinic Allergy Center
This website offers a wealth of information, from basics about allergies to treatment options and living with allergies.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
This website offers a broad range of information on food allergies. NIAID is one of the National Institutes of Health.

Local Resources

Asthma, HealthInfoSource.com
This health topic on HealthInfoSource.com offers a collection of links to more information about asthma.

What's Today's Pollen Count?
Visit this site and enter a ZIP code for a report on the pollen index in Fort Collins or other locations in the United States.

Poudre River Public Library District
Search the library collection for books about allergies, or use the library's health, sciences and technology databases.

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