Where do allergies come from?

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Allergies are caused when particles of pollen, pet dander or certain types of food enter our bodies. If your body has sensitivity to that particle, it mistakes the harmless element for a dangerous invader. The particle becomes what we call an allergen.

Allergens cause your body to produce antibodies meant to destroy dangerous invaders. Unfortunately, these antibodies release histamines that create an allergic reaction.

What causes one person to become sensitive to a particular allergen, while another sails through life with dry eyes and clear sinuses? Scientists aren’t exactly sure, but genetics plays a role.

If you have an allergic parent, you are twice as likely to have allergies. There’s no one gene for allergies or asthma. It’s a combination of multiple genes interacting with the environment.

Environmental exposures play a role in allergic disease; you can’t be sensitized to something you’ve never been exposed to.

Dr. Art Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to www.drartmollen.com.