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An allergy or Type I hypersensitivity is an immune malfunction whereby a person's body is hypersensitised to react immunologically to typically nonimmunogenic substances. When a person is hypersensitised, these substances are known as allergens. The word allergy derives from the Greek words allos meaning "other" and ergon meaning "reaction" or "reactivity". Type I hypersensitivity is characterised by excessive activation of mast cells by immunoglobulin E resulting in a systemic inflammatory response that can result in symptoms as benign as a runny nose, to life-threatening anaphylactic shock and death.
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