Allergy is a condition when your immune system reacts to a specific substance in you, while it is harmless to other people. When you are having an allergic reaction, it is your immune system that is producing chemicals that lead to the reaction. Therefore, allergy is not a deficiency or weakness in the immune system. It commonly affects the eyes and nose leading to hay fever; however it can affect any organ including the mouth, lungs and skin. The reaction can be immediate within seconds and also can be slow. It can present with mild bothersome symptoms such as itching. However it can be severe life threatening where one has difficulty breathing. On the other hand, immune deficiency refers to a weakened immune state where one gets frequent infections. The infections can involve the skin, ears, sinuses, lungs and any organ in the body.
Allergists and Immunologists are experts that receive special training and experience with the immune system. They can tell you whether your symptom is an allergy or not. Generally, they are able to pinpoint the culprit and confirm it with tests. In addition to telling you what to avoid, they are also able to give you treatments for relief. In addition to avoidance and symptomatic treatment, some allergic conditions can be cured through immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. This treatment is highly effective in modulating the immune system to develop tolerance to what is normally an offending agent.