Allergies or sensitivities occur when the immune system overreacts to substances most people find harmless. Any substance might be an allergen, as long as it triggers a reaction when ingested, smelt or makes skin contact. Common causes include food (shellfish, nuts, dairy), environmental (pollen, dust, pollution, animals/insects) and medicinal (penicillin, morphine, codeine) intolerances. Symptoms range from the mild (itching, runny eyes/nose and minor swelling) to the wild (life-threatening anaphylaxis). Treatments include avoidance, adrenalin (the compact epipen), medication, desensitization (also known as immunotherapy), acupressure, acupuncture, reflexology, and herbal medicine.
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