• Question: How do people get illergic to things?? like tomatoes or clorine?

    Asked by 10kniwilc to Daniela, Hannah, Ian, Jono, Mark on 25 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Hannah Brotherton

      Hannah Brotherton answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Hi 10kniwilc,
      The body goes on the defense when he thinks something is attacking it and can harm it that it makes all our white blood cells come out to protect us. This is why we go red on our skin or can become swollen – our white blood cells are ready to fight.

      But an allergy is when the body becomes all defensive about nothing – like tomatoes. – why would someone be allergic to a tomato – its not trying to eat us 😛

      We have allergies because the bodies immune system becomes confused or it could be that you have eaten so many tomatoes the body just can’t bare it any more and wants to stop you from eaten them ever again lol.

      So you can become allergic to things if your body has never come into contact with it before – so its gets scared and doesn’t want it near you. Or you can just become allergic to things because of genes or the environment you work it. You can be allergic to house dust, but we come into contact with it every day – but sometimes the body can’t cope anymore and becomes too defensive, causing an allergy.

      So I’m allergic to fur (but I have 4 cats – cause they are so cute). I go all red and this is my white blood cells or more specifically histamine. Histamine is involved in all the symptoms of allergies, like sneezing and redness. This why people take anti-histamine tablets – to stop the body being so defensive.

      But look at these 5 strangest allergies people have:
      1) electricity
      2) exercise
      3) the cold
      4) sunlight
      5) water

      Do you have an unusual allergy?

    • Photo: Daniela Plana

      Daniela Plana answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Hi 10kniwilc,

      When you are allergic to something, it’s because your body goes on high alert because it thinks it’s under attack… some things you are born being allergic to, for example some babies are allergic to milk, how bad is that?! They have to be fed special milk made out of soy instead!

      Other times, your body develops the allergy with time… with some medicine for example if you have to take it too much, you might develop a resistance to it and become allergic…

      Hope that helps,

    • Photo: Ian Wilson

      Ian Wilson answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Hi 10kniwilc,

      Allergic reactions are caused by your body’s immune system overreacting to molecules that it doesn’t recognise. The immune system thinks that it’s found something dangerous (like a bacterium) because it’s not from your body so it makes a type of protein called ‘IgE’ to fight off the ‘intruder’.

      When IgE is made it irritates cells in your muscles so they go big, red and puffy and it increases the amount of mucus produced. The irritation is caused as the body releases loads of enzymes and proteins to destroy the invader, attacking its own cells in the process. The mucus is used to stick to invading bacteria or molecules and snot them out of the body lol! So that’s why you get puffy eyes, a closed throat and a sniffly nose.

      Different people’s immune systems overreact to different things, meaning that some people have allergies to lots of things whilst some don’t have any at all. Unfortunately, once your immune system recognises something as a threat it’s likely to always do that, which is why people have hayfever their whole lives.

      Hope that makes sense,


    • Photo: Mark Hodson

      Mark Hodson answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Hi kniwilc,

      I don’t think people know why people become allergic but it is the body making a mistake and using its defence mechanisms against something that is actually harmless. My wife is allergic to sunlight – even on a rainy day she has to wear factor 60 suncream or she burns. It’s bizarre it just started happening one day for no apparent reason. It’s a bit of a mystery really.



    • Photo: Jono Bone

      Jono Bone answered on 27 Jun 2013:

      Hi 10kniwilc,
      good question! Allergies vary so much; you can be allergic to absolutely anything. I used to be allergic to strawberries when I was a child but I liked them so much that I ate one every couple of months and gradually the allergy went away. This doesn’t happen with everyone some people have to live in bubbles ( like the simpsons episode) because their allergies are so bad and affect their everyday life!
      People can even be allergic to things like sunlight and electricity!!
      Allergies can often be blamed on parents. The tendency to become allergic is inherited, and the chances that you also will be allergic increase from about 50 percent when one parent is allergic to 75 to 80 percent when both parents have allergies. It can also have something to do with the environment surrounding you.