• Glossary of Allergic Terms & Diseases

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    Allergen: A substance, typically a protein, that elicits an IgE response associated with clinical symptoms

    Allergic Reaction: An adverse immunological reaction associated with allergic responses

    Allergies: The constellation of clinical problems typically associated with allergic conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis, asthma and eczema

    Allergy: A reaction of the immune system that is triggered by allergens, associated with IgE and is typically harmless to most people

    Anaphylaxis: An acute IgE-mediated allergic response that can be life-threatening

    Antibody(ies): A protein produced by the body’s immune system that helps neutralize germs by recognizing and binding a specific antigen

    Antigen: A substance, typically a protein, that elicits an immune response (such as an antibody)

    Asthma: Reversible airway obstruction associated with allergy, typically triggered by aeroallergen exposure

    Atopic Dermatitis: Also known as eczema. Dry, itchy skin rash associated with allergies.

    Atopy: The predisposition to develop the constellation of allergic diseases including eczema, rhinitis, asthma, and conjunctivitis in individuals with a family history of these problems. This inherited tendency to develop certain allergic hypersensitivity reactions is associated with elevation of IgE
    Basophil: A circulating white blood cell that bears IgE receptors, releases histamine and is involve in allergic reactions

    Corticosteroid Drugs: A drug of the corticosteroid classification that is typically used for its anti-inflammatory action

    DBPC (Double-blind Placebo-controlled) Study: This is a research study in which both the patient and the healthcare provider are unaware of whether the subject is being given the active drug or a placebo (sugar pill) in order to avoid bias in interpretation of the results

    Desensitization: Loss of immunological sensitization

    Eosinophil(s): A white blood cell that contains granules that absorb the eosin stain

    Food Allergies: Allergic reaction to a food substance

    Food Challenge: Exposure to a food with the aim of determining whether it will elicit an immunological or clinical response

    Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER): Retrograde flow of acidic gastric contents into the esophagus
    Hay Fever: Seasonal allergic rhinitis caused by exposure to pollen

    Histamine: A substance produced by allergic inflammatory cells (mast cells and basophils) that triggers acute allergic symptoms

    Hives: A raised and red skin reaction caused by a local or systemic exposure to a substance that is typically triggered by local mast cell activation

    House Dust Mite: An insect that lives in dust, typically thrives on human skin flakes and is a potent and common allergen

    IgE: Antibody of the E class that is involved in the the development of allergies by triggering mast cells and basophils

    IgG: The most common form of protective antibody

    Immunotherapy: Manipulation of the immune system to harness a beneficial effect

    Inflammation: Swelling of a particular tissue typically caused by the body’s immune response to injury

    Interleukin: A hormone in the body that regulates the communication between leukocytes
    Leukocytes: White blood cells

    Lymphocyte: A leukocyte is characterized by its small nucleus and mononuclear appearance that has a central roll in the adaptive arm (memory response) of the immune system

    Macrophage: A leukocyte that is characterized by its ability to engulf (ingest) foreign substances such as bacteria and able to activate lymphocytes

    Mast Cells: Leukocytes that have high affinity IgE receptors and are involved in triggering allergies

    Natural Killer Cell: A white blood cell involved in killing unwanted cells

    Neutrophil: A white blood cell that participates in host defence against bacteria and also is involved in propagating acute inflammation

    Patch Test: A skin test that measures delayed reactions to an allergen

    Pruritus: Itching

    Rhinitis: Nasal congestion

    Rhinorrhea: Clear nasal discharge
    SCID: Abbreviation for Severe Combined Immune Deficiency

    Skin Prick Test: Application of allergens to the skin in order to determine the presence of sensitization to an allergen

    T cell: A component of the cellular part of the immune system that is involved in memory responses to foreign substances

    Tryptase: An enzyme produced by mast cells that is found in acute and chronic allergic reactions. Its levels in the blood can be used to determine the presence of anaphylaxis

    Urticaria: A raised rash characterized by its itchiness

    Venom: Toxin present in animals such as bees and snakes that can cause an allergic reaction

    Wheal: A raised bump on the skin often measured by skin prick testing for determining the presence of allergic response to an injected substance

    Xerosis: Dryness of the skin of the mucus membrane
  • Our researchers are dedicated to educating the next generation of leaders in allergy and immunology clinical practice and research.
    Our researchers are dedicated to educating the next generation of leaders in allergy and immunology clinical practice and research.
  • Complete Glossary

    The Division of Allergy and Immunology provides patients and families with a complete glossary of definitions for allergic terms and diseases. Download the glossary in portable document format (pdf).
  • The Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders is the international leader in caring for patients with eosinophilic conditions and researching the cure.
    The Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders is the international leader in caring for patients with eosinophilic conditions and researching the cure.