Hypersensitivities For Dummies
What’s the confusion? I’ll explain. This is (partly) how doctors classify Type 1 Hypersensitivities:
Hypersensitivities (Type I)
Allergies (Pollen) “The Other” Hypersensitivities
Allergies: The immune system’s reactions to tree, weed, or grass pollen, all harmless foreign substances.
“The Other” Hypersensitivities: The immune system’s reactions to any foreign substance, in the body or just touching the body, except pollen.
See what causes the confusion? The over-arching hypersensitivity category and the hypersensitivity subcategory have the same name. As a result, many people say allergies when referring to hypersensitivities. So do I, sometimes. After all, allergies is much easier to say than hypersensitivities.
But when I’m writing for this site, I will always distinguish between allergies and the other hypersensitivities. Sometimes, I will even refer to allergies as pollen allergies, though the phrase is redundant.
Motion sickness is a hypersensitivity.
Lactose intolerance is a hypersensitivity.
A drug side effect is a hypersensitivity.
A local reaction from an allergy shot is a hypersensitivity.
Any reaction not triggered by pollen is a hypersensitivity—a simple hypersensitivity.
What are some differences between allergies and the other hypersensitivities?
Dr. Jean M. Bradt
Ph.D., Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago, 1988