The body's own immune system protects us from infectious organisms and harmful chemicals. If foreign substances (antigens) come into contact with the skin or the lining of the nose, mouth, eyes or gastrointestinal tract, an alarm may be set off in the immune system and a series of defensive reactions unfold. An important step in this process is the formation of antibodies by the immune system. These are proteins which recognise the antigens and bind tightly onto them making it easier for the body to eliminate them.
Allergy vaccines are generally available for treatment of the most common allergies, particularly treating conditions such as hayfever or house-dust mite allergy. Although not particularly common, allergy to stings from insects (particularly bees and wasps) can be very serious and unfortunately causes a small number of fatalities worldwide. Treatment for this particular condition has documented that allergy vaccination is effective.