Allergen

Allergen
Tags: Allergens,Term Definitions,
  • Definition

    An allergen is any antigen that provokes a strong immune response, an allergic reaction, in which the body attempts to combat a perceived threat, despite the substance being otherwise harmless. Major allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, shellfish, fish, wheat, soy, sulfites, sesame, mustard, and celery.

  • Health considerations

    Allergens induce varying strengths of response. Allergic reactions are typically treated with antihistamines, as histamine plays a significant role in the physical effects of the reaction. Anaphylaxis is an extreme, life-threatening allergic reaction.

  • Keep in mind

    Sensitivities vary widely, both in terms of what substances are allergenic and what quantity of antigen must be present to invoke a response. Though the allergen is present, some individuals experience a response only if the antigen is introduced by ingestion, inhalation, injection, or contact with the skin.

  • References

    Medline Plus
    Health Canada