The Allergy Glossary

When you’re suffering an allergy attack, what you want is pretty obvious: relief. Knowing some important keywords related to your allergies may help you determine what may be most helpful for finding that relief quickly.

  • Allergen – A substance that creates an allergic reaction in a sensitive person

  • Allergy – An exaggerated bodily response to a substance, caused by the release of histamine

  • Anaphylaxis – A severe, sometimes life-threatening response to an allergen; symptoms may include lowered blood pressure, swelling, and difficulty breathing

  • Antihistamine – A medication that blocks histamine receptors and provides relief from symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose

  • Asthma – A disease of the bronchial tubes, which carry air in and out of the lungs. Asthma cause the swelling and narrowing of these bronchial tubes, making breathing difficult. Asthma attacks may be caused by, among other things, allergies

  • Bronchodilators – Medications that relax the swollen airways during an asthma attack; also useful for clearing mucus from the lungs

  • Dander – Tiny, scaly cells shed from the skin and fur of animals; a common allergen

  • Decongestant – Medication that relaxes swollen nasal passages, relieves congestion, and decreases mucus production

  • Dermatitis – Inflammation or swelling of the skin, often accompanied by itching, redness, or even blistering. Dermatitis may caused by direct contact with an irritating substance or by an allergic reaction

  • Drug allergy – An allergic reaction caused by specific medication

  • Elimination Diet – The temporary discontinuation of specific types of food in order to determine if said foods cause reaction

  • Epinephrine – Medication that is a form of adrenaline, used to treat severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis

  • Histamine – A naturally occurring substance released by the immune system in response to allergen exposure

  • Hypoallergenic – A product specifically designed to contain as few allergens as possible

  • Nasal Spray – Medication in a liquid form meant to be applied directly inside the nose to fight nasal allergy symptoms; available in prescription or over-the-counter strengths

  • Urticaria (Hives) – Itchy, swollen, red bumps or patches on the skin that appear in response to an allergen; can appear on any part of the body, including face, tongue, lips, throat, or ears.


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