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Week: 576.1

Guest: Dr. Marshall Plaut, Chief, Allergic Mechanisms Section, NIAID/NIH

Topic: Undertanding allergy

Host/ Producer: Steve Girard

NEMA: Understanding allergy...coming up...

SPOT: 15 years in the prevention of heart disease, stroke and trauma- the National Emergency Medicine Association. Call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: Just what is an allergy...and why are we allergic? Dr. Marshall Plaut, chief of the allergic mechanisms section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases...

PLAUT: Why we're allergic, we really don't know. But an allergy is probably easiest stated as an inappropriate response to the body to a substance that's generally harmless. The body, for reasons we don't fully understand, treats the substance as harmful and makes an antibody response to it...leading to the release of powerful chemicals.

NEMA: Causing congestion, post nasal drip...which could lead to bronchitis or pneumonia. How do you know it's not just a cold?

PLAUT: The major distinction is the duration and sometimes the severity usually the symptoms are worse than a cold. You lack some symptoms of a cold, you don't usually get a fever despite the term hay fever, people with allergies don't get fever. And they also may get worse symptoms and they last longer then ten days to two weeks that people with colds have.

NEMA: More on allergy through the week. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.



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