An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when the immune system reacts to foreign, but normally harmless substances in the environment called allergens. When the body recognizes an allergen, it releases chemicals such as histamines to fight the allergen off. This causes itching, swelling, mucus production, muscle spasms, hives, rashes, and other symptoms, which vary from person to person. These reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid.

Allergic reactions are distinctive because of excessive activation of certain white blood cells called mast cells and basophils. This reaction results in an inflammatory response which can range from uncomfortable to dangerous.

Allergy Services + Programs

The Lung Centre at Vancouver Coastal Health offers allergy skin tests.

The Allergy Clinic at BC Children’s Hospital takes referrals for children from all parts of BC. The clinic provides diagnosis, treatment and education for allergic problems, including respiratory tract disease, gastro-intestinal disease related to food intolerance, skin disease, generalized symptoms, and anaphylaxis.

Allergy Resources + Organizations