What is Allergy?

There are several types of allergy.  Here at Diagenics we focus on Type I (often called IgE mediated allergy) and Type IV (sometimes called contact allergy, cell-mediated allergy, or allergic contact dermatitis).

Type I allergy causes symptoms such as hay fever, sneezing (allergic rhinitis), watery eyes (allergic conjunctivitis), allergic asthma and hives (urticaria). This is because the body’s immune system has increased levels of IgE (atopy). IgG is an antibody that recognises allergens (such as pollens, and dust-mite products) as threats, and so when the body comes into contact with these allergen particles it overreacts producing an unnecessary immune reaction (as these allergens are not threats to the body).  The allergic reaction causes more damage to the body than the allergens ever would. Many people manage this kind of allergy by avoiding allergens (e.g. not keeping cats as pets if you have a cat allergy) or changing home furnishings and using mattress protectors and other products to limit dust-mites in the home but some allergens are environmental and/or cannot be avoided.  In these cases, people often take antihistamines, nasal-sprays and eye-drops to manage the symptoms of allergy.  In other cases, immunotherapy (also known as “allergy vaccines”) are used to retrain the immune system not to recognise allergens as threats.

People who suffer from Type I allergies are also more likely to suffer from eczema or atopic dermatitis.

Type IV allergy tends to be associated with workplace allergies such as the chemicals used in hair-salons, cosmetic products and other small molecular weight chemicals. This often presents with eczema symptoms. Like type I allergy avoiding the allergen is the best treatment.

Atopic dermatitis and eczema symptoms (whether allergy related or otherwise) can be treated with lotions and eczema dressings. Here at Diagenics we have a range of specially developed eczema dressing that are as soft as silk, as strong as polyester, as cool as linen and as warm as wool.  The range is available for children, babies, adults, and teenagers and offers freedom for relaxation and rest. Click here to view our eczema range.