EVMS Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons

What are allergies?

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to an ordinary harmless substance called an allergen. When the allergen is absorbed into the body of an allergic person, symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes and itching and sneezing develop. People can be allergic to one to several allergens. The most common are pollens, molds, dust mites, animal dander, foods, medications, cockroach droppings and insect stings. Recent studies have shown ten percent of people who suffer from chronic ear infections develop allergies. In the United States, allergies affect 1 out of 6 people.