Here's an example: If you are a person whose body happens to make IgE that recognizes oak pollen, and it is the time of year for oak pollination, the following occurs:
- You are innocently playing the park, and oak pollen is in the air. It lands on the eyelids and is breathed in through the nose and lands in the nasal passages.
- The pollen comes in contact with the IgE molecule found in the nose and eyes
- The IgE sends a signal to the mast cell to release it's chemical contents
- The contents of the mast cell interact with the tissues of the body causing them to swell and weep a lot of fluid
- You feel awful sneezing, having a runny nose, and having itchy/watery eyes
Trying to stop one or more of the above steps is the key to getting rid of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. In "Getting Control of Allergies", I discuss these various strategies.