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Because researchers are becoming increasingly aware of the role of environmental factors in allergies, they are evaluating ways to control environmental exposures to allergens and pollutants to prevent allergic disease. These studies offer the promise of improving the treatment and control of allergic diseases and the hope that one day allergic diseases will be preventable. 31 09-0247 Airborn 14ƒ 4/30/03 10:11 AM Page 38 Glossary• allergen—substance that causes an allergic reaction allergenic—describes a substance which produces an allergic reaction antibody—molecule tailor-made by the immune system to lock onto and destroy specific germs basophils—white blood cells that contribute to inflammatory reactions conjunctivitis—inflammation of the lining of the eyelid, causing red-rimmed, swollen eyes, and crusting of the eyelids genes—units of genetic material that carry the directions a cell uses to perform a specific function granules—small particles; in cells the particles typically include enzymes and other chemicals immune system—a complex network of specialized cells, tissues, and organs that defends the body against attacks by disease-causing organisms inflammation—an immune system process that stops the progression of disease-causing organisms lymphocytes—small white blood cells which are important parts of the immune system 32 09-0247 Airborn 14ƒ 4/30/03 10:11 AM Page 39 mast cells—granule-containing cells found in tissue molecules—the building blocks of a cell.

Therefore, scientists are trying to identify and describe the genes that make a person susceptible to allergic diseases. Because researchers are becoming increasingly aware of the role of environmental factors in allergies, they are evaluating ways to control environmental exposures to allergens and pollutants to prevent allergic disease. These studies offer the promise of improving the treatment and control of allergic diseases and the hope that one day allergic diseases will be preventable. 31 09-0247 Airborn 14ƒ 4/30/03 10:11 AM Page 38 Glossary• allergen—substance that causes an allergic reaction allergenic—describes a substance which produces an allergic reaction antibody—molecule tailor-made by the immune system to lock onto and destroy specific germs basophils—white blood cells that contribute to inflammatory reactions conjunctivitis—inflammation of the lining of the eyelid, causing red-rimmed, swollen eyes, and crusting of the eyelids genes—units of genetic material that carry the directions a cell uses to perform a specific function granules—small particles; in cells the particles typically include enzymes and other chemicals immune system—a complex network of specialized cells, tissues, and organs that defends the body against attacks by disease-causing organisms inflammation—an immune system process that stops the progression of disease-causing organisms lymphocytes—small white blood cells which are important parts of the immune system 32 09-0247 Airborn 14ƒ 4/30/03 10:11 AM Page 39 mast cells—granule-containing cells found in tissue molecules—the building blocks of a cell.

While many are able to stop the injections with good results lasting for several years, others do get worse after the shots are stopped. One research study shows that children treated for allergic rhinitis with immunotherapy were less likely to develop asthma. Researchers need to study this further, however. As researchers produce better allergens for immunotherapy, this technique will be become an even more effective treatment. 27 09-0247 Airborn 14ƒ 4/30/03 Allergy 10:11 AM Page 34 Research Research on allergies is focused on understanding what happens to the human body during the allergic process— the sequence of events leading to the allergic response and the factors responsible for allergic diseases.

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