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A substance that is recognized by the body as foreign and mistakenly dangerous and triggers an excessive immune response, an allergy.


Allergen avoidance
Avoiding contact with the allergy-causing substances. It is the most effective but often difficult form of allergy therapy. In the case of food, in particular, allergen avoidance is often the only option for therapy.


Allergic reaction

Reaction of the body to contact with an allergy trigger (allergen). The allergic reaction can vary depending on the type of contact.


Anaphylactic shock

Allergic reaction that affects the entire organism. Anaphylactic shock is an anaphylactic reaction (anaphylaxis) in which symptoms such as a drop in blood pressure and shortness of breath are life-threatening.


Antiallergic agent

Drug that is used against an allergy or its symptoms. These include antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, glucocorticoids (cortisone) and desensitizing agents.



Substance that the immune system recognizes as foreign to the body, for example pollen. All allergens are also antigens.



Active ingredients that relieve the classic symptoms of an allergy, such as itching, swelling of the nasal mucous membrane and eyes, and runny nose. Antihistamines block histamine receptors, which weakens or removes the histamine effect.

It is very important to use only modern antihistamines that do not make you tired. Product names include desloratadine, fexofenadine, bilastine and, with restrictions, cetirizine.



Also called immunoglobulins. Defensive substances the body forms against allergy-causing substances (for example, bee pollen). A protein compound produced by the immune system with the task of marking a foreign body so that it can be removed from the body's defence system. Antibodies of the IgE class are exclusively responsible for triggering food allergies, hay fever and asthma. However, food tests are also offered against IgG class antibodies. These are not serious and are not meaningful for classic food allergies.


A chronic lower respiratory disease. In the acute case, the airways become narrower with increased secretion of mucus and bloating of the lungs, depending on the severity of the asthma, even without a triggering allergen. Cough and shortness of breath often occur. With an allergic reaction to food, the occurrence of asthma is an alarm signal and must be reported to the doctor, as well as all other systemic symptoms such as dizziness. Food allergies can be life-threatening and affected people absolutely need medical advice, an emergency kit and training on what needs to be avoided.


Atopy is the genetic predisposition to develop allergies. Hay fever, asthma and contact eczema are also called "atopic diseases".


Atopic eczema

Synonymous with neurodermatitis, a chronic skin disease. It is characterized by red, scaly skin with severe itching

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Blood test
For these tests, blood is drawn from a vein and then tested for certain antibodies (eg IgE) in the laboratory. Of interest here is whether the antibodies are present and, if so, how much of them.

A corticoid, i.e. a chemical substance similar to the body's own cortisone, which is effective against allergy-related inflammatory processes.

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CAP test
For the detection of antibodies of IgE class antibodies against certain allergens.

Celiac disease (gluten-induced enteropathy)

Celiac disease is a chronic disease of the small intestine. Affected people react to gluten, which the immune system wrongly classifies as harmful.

Drugs to control the immune system. When used continuously, they reduce the excessive immune reaction that occurs in the case of an allergy. This improves the allergy symptoms.

Contact allergy
A contact allergy, unlike the immediate type allergy (IgE-mediated eg hay fever, asthma), is a cell-mediated allergy ie white blood cells (T-cells) recognize an allergen and come into contact with the skin upon allergen contact. There, after 12 to 72 hours (late-type allergy), this leads to redness, itching, weeping, blistering and ultimately flaking of the skin. This is called eczema. Triggers are mostly small molecules such as those found in preservatives and auxiliary substances that are found in cosmetics, but metals such as nickel can also often trigger contact allergies. Synonyms are also contact eczema or contact dermatitis.


Cromoglicic acid
Abbreviation: DNCG. A remedy for the prevention of allergic reactions.
Cromoglicic acid is only very weakly effective for complaints of the nose and lungs, but can be recommended for patients with allergic reactions of the intestinal mucosa, for example in mastocytosis. However, it then only works on the intestinal mucosa.

Cross allergy
Also called cross-reaction. It is a group allergy. In a cross-reaction, the body reacts with an allergic reaction to substances that contain substances similar to the well-known allergen.

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see "hyposensitization"

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Itching, an inflammation of the skin. It manifests itself as itching, redness and blisters, which can burst and wet, as well as scaling and thickening of the skin.

Elimination diet
Special diet that uses a systematic process of elimination to detect food intolerances. If there is suspicion

on one or more foods as allergy triggers, these are deleted (eliminated) from the menu as part of the “search diet” (two to four weeks). The elimination diet is always accompanied by the doctor.

Protein complexes that enable, accelerate or allow a chemical reaction to take place in the body in the desired direction.

Eosinophil granulocytes
Eosinophil granulocytes play a role in the allergic immediate and late reaction because they release messenger substances after contact with the antigens and thus trigger the inflammatory reactions.

Epicutaneous test
Colloquially referred to as a patch test. It is used when a contact allergy is suspected. The allergens are glued to the skin (usually on the back) with plasters for 48 to 72 hours. The skin is then examined to assess the severity of the allergic reaction. Contact allergy mostly affects small-molecule substances such as those found as preservatives in cosmetics. Food rarely triggers contact allergies. 
It is another form of allergy, a so-called cellular allergy, where the symptoms, unlike in the case of the immediate type allergy

such as food allergy, hay fever and asthma, only occur after 12 to 72 hours.

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Fish is often a special challenge for food allergy sufferers, as not all fish are equally allergenic, but in clinical practice it is difficult for those affected to tell the individual fish apart and fish broth is often used in restaurants, even on food that is actually contains no fish as a taste nuance. Therefore, in the case of fish allergy, it is essential to ask in the restaurant whether there is contact with fish products.

Food allergy

Allergic reaction to allergens in food. In contrast to food intolerance, food allergy is a reaction of the immune system.

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Gluten-induced enteropathy (celiac disease)
Celiac disease is a chronic disease of the small intestine. Affected people react to gluten, which the immune system wrongly classifies as harmful. When people with celiac disease take in gluten-containing food, the body forms antibodies like an allergy, but these are not only directed against the protein itself, but (as with an autoimmune disease) also against the body's own structures. For this reason, celiac disease is not an allergy in the narrow sense, even if both involve the immune system.

Grass pollen
Grass pollen (e.g. of meadow grass, panicle grass, meadow grass, ryegrass, smoked grass, smooth oats) are common allergy triggers (for hay fever).

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Hay fever
The scientific term is allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis can be triggered not only by pollen, but also by other inhaled allergy triggers such as dust mites or animal hair.


The body's own messenger substance, which is formed in the mast cells and is released during the allergic reaction. Triggers the actual allergy symptoms by docking onto suitable receptors.

Histamine blockers

Antihistamine, plural antihistamines, is also a medication for the treatment of allergic symptoms. Histamine blockers prevent histamine from docking to the H1 receptors in the body's cells. This significantly reduces the allergic symptoms.

Very itchy wheals on the skin. They result from the release of histamine and the associated swelling and reddening of the skin. There are many different sub-forms of urticaria, some occurring spontaneously, some based on physical triggers such as cold or friction and pressure. Wheals as a sign of urticaria can also occur with a strong allergic reaction, but in this case it is not the disease urticaria, but the hives are a sign of so-called anaphylaxis, the allergic shock.


Therapy for allergies (including desensitization). By adding steadily increasing amounts of allergens, an attempt is made to gradually get the body used to the allergen. This therapy is carried out together with an allergist. With the so-called allergy vaccination (also specific immunotherapy, hyposensitization, formerly also called desensitization), an attempt is made to influence the immune system in such a way that it gets used to the contact with the allergen in the long term and symptoms are avoided.

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Antibody that is significantly involved in the development of an allergy. Also called immunoglobulin E.

Antibodies, a protein compound produced by the immune system with the task of marking a foreign body so that it can be removed from the body's own defence system. It is formed by the body to ward off antigens. There are five different classes. In the case of allergies, type E immunoglobulins are formed.

Intracutaneous test
Injection of small amounts of a suspected allergen into the skin to check the allergic reactivity to the allergen.

Iodine allergy

Used to occur more often due to iodine-based disinfectants. The new disinfectants commonly used in medical applications only contain iodine in another chemical compound, which means that these allergies occur much less frequently.

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An active ingredient from the group of so-called antihistamines. Loratadine prevents the action of histamine, which is released by the body in case of allergies and triggers the allergic symptoms. The active ingredient is not used for prevention, but in acute cases.

Levocabastin is one of the antihistamines and is used for acute allergy symptoms.

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Mast cells
Mast cells are certain white blood cells of the immune system, on the surface of which the antibodies adhere. When there is antigen contact, the mast cell releases histamine. They therefore play a central role in allergies.

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Neurodermatitis (technical terms: atopic dermatitis, atopic eczema) is a common inflammatory skin disease, chronic or in episodes, in which the patients tend to dry skin and eczema. It is usually accompanied by severe itching. The disease is not contagious and can usually be treated well today.

Nickel allergy
Nickel allergies are a common cause of contact eczema. The skin reacts with itching and flaking to objects containing nickel such as trouser buttons, belt buckles or earrings.

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Orthomolecular medicine
Orthomolecular medicine for the treatment of allergies is often offered on the Internet. This is an alternative medical, scientifically proven ineffective method in which micronutrients are used to try to change disease states. There is often a conceptual, incorrect concept that describes how micronutrients can strengthen the immune system. With allergies, however, there is no weakened immune system, on the contrary, an excessively strong immune system. In principle, the procedures offered on the Internet should always be cautious to check it elsewhere.

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Vegetable allergen.

Synonymous with hay fever.

Prick test
Test procedure for the detection of allergies. Allergen solutions are applied to the skin and the skin is slightly scratched. If there is an allergy, there is a clear swelling and reddening of the skin.

An old, no longer used process, the name stands for:

Paper radio immunosorbent test. A laboratory test that detects antibodies (IgE antibodies) in the blood. If the antibodies are present in high numbers, it is probably a hypersensitivity reaction due to an allergy.

Provocation test
Provocation tests are used to examine the type and severity of a known allergy. The substance, which is believed to cause an allergy, is administered under strict medical supervision and its effects are observed during the course. Here, an allergic reaction is triggered.

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A previously used study that has now been replaced by the non-radioactive CAP test. However, the word is still used colloquially. While in the original RAST test the antibodies were examined with radioactively labelled antibodies, in the CAP test an enzyme detection is the method used. This is significantly more environmentally friendly and safer for users in the laboratory.


Technical term for runny nose. An acute or chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa.

Inflammation of the nasal mucosa and conjunctiva, often due to allergies. Combination of inflammation of the nasal mucosa (rhinitis) and the conjunctiva of the eye (conjunctivitis). Typical for hay fever, which is why it is also known as "seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis".

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Triggering fatigue. Sedation is a side effect of some antihistamines taken as tablets. It is always important to ask the doctor about new generation antihistamines that do not cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore do not cause tiredness.


Sensitization is a term used in allergology and means that the immune system has recognized a substance as foreign and may want to fight it. However, sensitization does not automatically mean that the body will respond with an allergic reaction the next time it comes into contact. The immune system is very flexible and does not always react in a clinically visible manner. It is therefore very important to differentiate between sensitization and a clinically important allergy. Often there is also a reaction to allergens in the skin test or blood test, but these have no significance in everyday clinical practice. For food, for example, this is often the case with children with milk. The clinically meaningful response to milk in infancy often disappears during the first years of life, but this sensitization can still be found in the skin test or blood test. For this reason, it is particularly important to take a critical look at all test results and to establish a correlation with the medical history together with the doctor. Basically, only the formation of antibodies of the class IgE is decisive for sensitization to allergies. In addition, the body often forms IgG antibodies. This can be observed particularly frequently on foods, but is of no importance for the development of diseases, but these antibodies are rather protective. Nevertheless, there are tests on the market that examine IgG. There is something for everyone here on food, this does not mean that there is a food allergy.

Skin tests

Tests on the skin are carried out as a prick, intracutaneous and patch test. The allergen solutions are brought into the skin with a lancet (prick test), picked under the skin with a fine needle (intracutaneous test) or applied to the back with a plaster (patch test). With a positive test result for the respective allergen, wheals and reddening form, the size and intensity of which provide information about the strength of the allergic reaction.

Specific immunotherapy (SIT)
Specific immunotherapy is a hyposensitization treatment. With the SIT, the immune system is to be accustomed to the allergenic substance (e.g. pollen) so that an allergic reaction no longer occurs.

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Something that releases (triggers) an allergic reaction, for example certain foods.

Total IgE

An increased total IgE level can indicate the presence of an allergy. Allergy sufferers often have elevated IgE levels. This is particularly the case after contact with the allergen, for example in the case of a pollen allergy sufferer during his pollen season. However, normal IgE levels in the blood do not rule out the presence of an allergy.

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Synonymous with hives

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Vasovagal syncope
The Vasovalge syncope describes fainting, which is triggered by a sudden reflex of the vagus nerve, often especially in young people, by standing on an empty stomach for a long time. Vasoval syncopation must be regarded as a differential diagnosis for the fainting of an allergic reaction to anaphylactic shock, but unlike anaphylaxis, skin symptoms such as wheals or reddening of the skin never occur.

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Water in itself can never be an allergen, but in rare cases there is a clinical picture called aquagenic urticaria which, when in contact with water (sometimes only in contact with saltwater), leads to itching and wheals after some time of exposure. Treatment is with antihistamines.


A wheal is defined as a sudden superficial swelling of the skin accompanied by itching and redness that lasts for a maximum of 24 hours, but in most cases only for one or a few hours. Wheals can be of different sizes and are one of the main symptoms of urticaria (urticaria).

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Trade name for levocetirizine, this is the left-turning enantiomer of the cetirizine of a second generation antihistamine, but still has a mildly tiring effect in those patients who have a somewhat reduced blood-brain barrier, such as in 10 percent of the population.

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In addition to conventional medical treatments for allergies, sports with strengthening of the respiratory tract and relaxation exercises also play a role. Yoga can combine this and is therefore often recommended as a very suitable sport, especially for patients with asthma.

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Brand name for an old antihistamine (ketotifen) that makes you very tired. Nowadays practically no longer recommended for use.

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