Exactly What Are Hypersensitivities?

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What are hypersensitivities?

Hypersensitivities are very rare, damaging, discomfort-producing, and sometimes fatal reactions produced by the human immune system. Touching wool may make you itch. Drinking milk may make you sick to your stomach. Breathing cigarette smoke may precipitate an asthma attack. It may do serious damage to your (as opposed to others’) lungs. Why? Because you are a Hypersensitive, and your immune system reacts to substances to which others’ immune systems don’t react.

Dictionary Definitions for Hypersensitivity

1. Extreme physical sensitivity to particular substances or conditions — Google

A little sparse. I want more.

2. A state of altered reactivity in which the body reacts with an exaggerated immune response to a foreign agent —freedictionary.com

As in “altered states”? I like that.

3.The exaggerated or inappropriate immune response occurring in response to a substance either foreign or perceived as foreign and resulting in local or general tissue damage

Redundant, I think.

4. A set of undesirable reactions produced by the normal immune system, including allergies and autoimmunity. They are usually referred to as an over-reaction of the immune system and these reactions may be damaging, uncomfortable, or occasionally fatal.— Wikipedia

Notice that Wikipedia mentioned allergies and autoimmunity but passed over those of us who have non-allergic hypersensitivities. This is understandable, because our condition has not been intensively studied.

My own answer to What Are Hypersensitivities?
(about how Hypersensitives actually act and feel)

Hypersensitivities: certain substances trigger immune reactions in your body. Yet most other people’s bodies don’t react at all to those substances. Then other people accuse you of “over-reacting” to the substance.

“Relax,” they say. “Don’t let it bother you.”

“If you’d stop complaining and do your job,” they say, “the itching/pain would stop.”

“I don’t have any hypersensitivities,” they say. “I don’t have time to be sick.”

“It’s all in your head,” they say. “Stop whining about nothing.”

Hypersensitive: a person who has hypersensitivities

We don’t know much about hypersensitivities, but we do know that they are a function of the body, specifically the immune system. They are not a function of the mind.

Dr. Jean M. Bradt
Ph.D., Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago, 1988

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