The key difference between allergens and allergies is that allergens are substances that trigger the formation of immunoglobulin E, while allergies are immune responses developed due to the formation of immunoglobulin E.
The immune system helps to protect the body from different invading pathogens and foreign particles. Allergens are such foreign particles that cause a sensitive reaction from the immune system known as allergies. The immune system identifies different sensitive allergens and naturally triggers an immune reaction generating different symptoms. Both allergens and allergies are interconnected since allergies occur only in the presence of allergens.
What are Allergens?
An allergen is a substance that triggers an allergic reaction in the body by the immune system. Allergen is often a protein of any origin. When an allergen enters the body, the immune system identifies it and reacts to it by producing a type of antibody called IgE (immunoglobulin E) against a specific allergen. This immune reaction triggered by the body’s immune system leads to an allergic reaction.
Moreover, allergens are of two types. They are allergens of natural origin and allergens of synthetic origin. Natural allergens include animal proteins, animal dander, dust, food types such as milk, nuts, soy, fish, animal meat, fungal spores, insect and mite feces, insect bites, insect venom, and pollen of different plant species. Synthetic allergens include drugs such as antibiotics, cosmetic products, hair dyes, rubber latex, etc. The identification and study of allergens include two parts: studying the site of symptoms and the time that symptoms appear. During the study of the site of symptoms, physicians check the effect of inhalants such as molds, pollens, and dander affecting the eyes, nose, and bronchi, as well as the effect of cosmetics on the skin of the face and hands. Most of the allergens are airborne.
What are Allergies?
Allergy is an immune response triggered by the entering of an allergen into the body. Allergic reactions by the body are a natural process to fight against different sensitive allergens to the body. It is important to mention that not all allergens cause allergic reactions. Only sensitive allergens trigger allergic reactions. Therefore, a person who is not allergic to dust mite feces may not develop any allergic reaction when dust mite feces enter that particular individual’s body.
There are many symptoms of an allergic reaction. They are sneezing, runny nose, skin itchiness, wheezing and coughing, rashes, worsening of eczema, or asthma symptoms. Most of the time, allergies are mild reactions. However, in certain instances, severe reactions could occur. These types of reactions are called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shocks. In such instances, immediate medical assistance is required. There are different ways to manage and treat allergies. They are the use of drugs such as antihistamines, decongestants, lotions or creams, and steroid medicine. The most common treatment is an antihistamine, where any antihistamine medication can be taken to avoid or stop the allergic reaction from taking place.
What are the Similarities Between Allergens and Allergies?
- Allergens and allergies are two terms related to the immune system.
- Both allergens and allergies involve immunoglobulin E (IgE).
- They cause the disruption of the normal functioning of the body.
What is the Difference Between Allergens and Allergies?
An allergen is a substance that triggers an allergic reaction by the formation of IgE, while allergies are immune responses developed due to the formation of IgE. Thus, this is the key difference between allergens and allergies. An allergen is a substance of any origin that triggers an allergic reaction, and an allergy is a reaction triggered by the immunity system against a sensitive foreign particle that has entered the body. Moreover, allergies are of two types: mild allergies and severe allergies (anaphylaxis). Allergens are of two types: allergens of natural origin and allergens of synthetic origin.
The below infographic presents the differences between allergens and allergies in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Allergens vs Allergies
An allergen is a substance that triggers an allergic reaction in the body. Allergy is an immune response triggered by the entering of an allergen into the body. An allergen triggers the occurrence of immunoglobulin E, while allergies occur due to immunoglobulin E. Only sensitive allergens trigger allergic reactions. Allergens are mainly of two types: natural origin and synthetic origin. Allergies are of two types: mild allergies and severe allergies (anaphylaxis). Most of the time, allergies are mild reactions. However, in certain instances, severe reactions can also occur. The most common treatment for allergies is an antihistamine. So, this summarizes the difference between allergens and allergies.
1. “Food allergens” (CC0) via Free SVG
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