Online course in Health & Psychology

Allergies: When the Immune System Backfires

What do allergies reveal about our immune system's capabilities? Learn more about allergy symptoms and treatments on this course.

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 4 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $54 Find out more

Discover how different allergies are understood, diagnosed, and treated today.

The human immune system is designed to fight infection, but sometimes this defence mechanism provokes allergic disorders. On this course, you will explore the similarities and differences of infections and allergies, and understand the intricacies of the immune system.

You will address the events, mishaps, and discoveries that have led to a common understanding of allergies today. You will explore different types of allergies, like food allergies and hayfever, as well as allergy symptoms, methods of diagnosis, and different allergy treatments with the support of case studies.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsThroughout history, epidemics have left their mark in civilization. Black death, syphilis, smallpox, or tuberculosis. Most of them are severe, often deadly infections. The development of vaccinations and remedies against the eliciting culprits led to a growing understanding of our immune system. Today, however, according to some pundits, we are faced with an epidemic of allergies. They are very common, but rarely lethal. What are the differences between infections and allergies? What do they share? To answer these questions, this course does not only explore the immune system, but also addresses some of the events, mishaps, and discoveries that led to our understanding of allergies today. What provokes an allergy? What types of allergic reactions do we distinguish?

Skip to 1 minute and 31 secondsAnd what are the underlying mechanisms according to our modern understanding of the immune system? What are the typical clinical manifestations of each type? And how do we best recognised and treat these?

Skip to 1 minute and 53 secondsIf you are interested in these questions, the course "Allergies - When the Immune System Backfires" is for you. We look forward to welcoming you to it.

What topics will you cover?

  • The similarities and distinctions between allergies and infections
  • The immune system: exploring the topography of the immune organs, defining components, cells, and mediators
  • Atopic disorders: hay-fever, asthma and food allergy
  • Bee and wasp sting allergy
  • Contact eczema and atopic dermatitis
  • Drug hypersensitivities
  • Diagnostic approach and therapeutic possibilities

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explore the basic functioning and role of the immune system in health and disease.
  • Investigate the components that make up the immune system and how they interact in an allergic reaction.
  • Develop knowledge on how to recognize manifestations, signs and symptoms of allergic disorders.
  • Identify different allergic disorders and learn how to consider diagnosis and treatments.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for healthcare professionals or students studying health sciences. It will also be of interest to the general public looking to gain insights into the immune system and allergies.

Who will you learn with?

Andreas J. Bircher

Andreas J. Bircher

Head of Allergology 1991 - 2018
University Hospital Basel
Professor emeritus for Allergology
University of Basel, Switzerland
Adjunct Professor
Faculty of biomedical sciences
USI Lugano, Switzerland

Who developed the course?

The University of Basel has an international reputation of outstanding achievements in research and teaching.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.

Free
$0

Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 5 weeks

Upgrade
$54

Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • A print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible
New

Unlimited (New!)
$239 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.