Immune responses are your body’s natural way for protecting itself. And an allergic reaction is just your immune system overreacting.
Allergic reactions are caused by a sensitivity to a substance, or substances, that’s been previously determined to be invasive. What’s referred to as an allergen.
Allergens may cause a hyped reaction via contact with your skin, inhaled into your lungs, swallowed or injected. Then the exaggerated response can cause symptoms in your nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, stomach lining or skin. This reactive activity may occur immediately, have a delay or be chronic.
The overreaction of your immune system is due to the production of varying types of Immunoglobulin E antibodies, which are allergen specific. These antibodies cause the release of histamines and other stuff responsible for the inflammation that’s typically the worst offender of an allergic reaction.
Why you and why some substances trigger an allergy is not fully understood. But, having a family history of allergies puts you at a high risk for developing an allergic reaction.
Some of the main causes for you immune system to overreact and cause an allergic reaction involve:
- snake bite
- dust mites
- sorbic acid
- drugs ~ sulfa
- insect bites, stings
- food preservatives ~ sorbic acid, benzoic acid
Exercise can trigger an allergic reaction too.
Common symptoms of a mild allergic reaction are:
- runny nose
- itchy, red, watery eyes
Symptoms of a moderate or severe reaction include:
- chest tightness
- trouble breathing
- nausea & vomiting
- swallowing difficulty
- eyes, tongue, face swelling
- rapid drop in blood pressure
- abdomen pain, cramps, bloating
- faintness, dizziness, lightheadedness
If you witness somebody having an allergic reaction, then try to calm them down because anxiety can aggravate symptoms.
The types of allergic disease include:
- food allergy
- otitis media
- drug allergy
- allergic asthma
- serum sickness
- allergic pink eye
- airborne allergies
- contact dermatitis
- allergic rhinitis ~ hay fever
- hypersensitivity pneumonitis
It’s difficult to differentiate between a food allergy and food intolerance because of the similarity of symptoms. The most common trigger for an allergic reaction to food are the proteins in:
- tree nuts
Other forms of treatment involve:
- nasal sprays
- allergy shots
- histamine blockers
- topical corticosteroids
Food, drugs, insect venom and latex exposure can trigger anaphylaxis. This is a very serious and quick allergic reaction that is sometimes fatal. Emergency treatment is self injecting epinephrine.
Allergists are a qualified health care provider who treats allergic diseases. Once your allergens that trigger an allergic reaction are identified, they’ll devise a treatment plan that’s right for you.