Allergies

An allergy develops when a person’s immune response overreacts to something that is generally harmless.

What are allergies?

Allergies can be triggered by common substances called allergens — such as pollen, pets, food and medication. The resulting reaction can be mild, like itchy eyes or skin, or it can be severe — leading to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.

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Key statistics

20%

20%

Allergies affect approximately 20% of people in Australia and New Zealand

Children

Children

Allergies are more common in children, though anyone can develop an allergy at any time

Allergens

Allergens

Pollen, pets, dust mites, peanuts, shellfish and other seafood, eggs, milk, insect bites, medication such as penicillin, and latex

Allergies research at Garvan

Our allergy research focuses on certain genetic mutations such as those that result in immune diseases like autosomal recessive hyper IgE syndrome (AR-HIES). Those with AR-HIES often suffer multiple allergies such as food allergies, atopic skin conditions such as eczema, and asthma. Our researchers are dedicated to studying the mechanisms affected by these genetic mutations, to better understand what future treatments could be given.

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