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Definition - What does Allergen mean?

Allergen is a substance that is capable of causing allergic reactions. It is an antigen and may produce strong immune system response in some people in a way that, the immune system of his/her body considers allergens as harmful foreign bodies. The immune system then fights off this apparent threat by causing allergic reactions. The symptoms of allergy is skin rash, itching and the area is inflamed.

Safeopedia explains Allergen

Allergens can be originated from various sources. Common allergens are the following

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Some foods including sea foods
  • Animal dander
  • Plants
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Smoke
  • Perfumes
  • Chemicals
  • Drugs including antibiotics and ointments

Sensitivity to allergens vary from one person to another and he/she is likely to be allergic to an unusual numbers of substances. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes following foods as allergens at 10 ppm and over, these are peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, shellfish, fish, wheat, soy and sulphites. It may vary from country to country as the genetic code of human is different. Canada, recognizes all of the above allergens and additionally, sesame seeds. Similarly, 70-85% of humans are allergenic to poison ivy. Among other sensitive ones are mosquito or wasp, fire ant and bee stings, penicillin and latex.

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