What Is an Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reaction occurs when a person’s immune system over-reacts to an allergen or a substance that doesn’t pose a threat to the body. In most instances, allergic reactions are mild and can be kept under control, although some cases can be severe and life-threatening.
The severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is an urgent condition for the reason that a person may die if they do not receive immediate medical attention. The person will need an epinephrine (adrenaline) injection as quickly as possible. Here are the signs of anaphylaxis.
What Causes An Allergic Reaction?
Most of these allergens are usually harmless to numerous people who are not allergic to them.
The common allergens that can cause allergic reactions are:
- Animal skin
- Flower pollen
- Dust mites
- Bee stings or bites from some insects
- Certain medications (Penicillin, and ibuprofen, aspirin)
- Insect bites
- Hay fever
- Certain foods (Tree nuts, citrus fruits, shellfish, soy, eggs, wheat, some fish, and cows’ milk)
- Chronic stress
- Certain plants (Poison ivy, sumac, and poison oak)
- Irritating chemicals (Latex, hair dye, household cleaners, formaldehyde, or fragrances)
- Has a family history of asthma or allergies (Allergies sometimes run in families)
How do you know you have an allergic reaction?
Manifestations of an allergic reaction can vary from mild to severe and even life-threatening.
Here are the sign and symptoms of a mild allergic reaction:
- Watering eyes, Redness of the eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Runny nose or itching of the nose
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, or bloating
- Coughing, tightness in your chest, and wheezing
- Itchy skin
- Itchy eyes
- Swelling of the skin
- Itchy throat or mouth
Here are the sign and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis):
- Fainting, confusion, weakness, or dizziness
- Redness, rash, or paleness of the skin
- Swelling of the throat, itchy throat, or hoarse voice
- Swelling of the lips, face, eyes, or tongue
- Sweating, shortness of breath, rapid pulse to even heart stoping beating
- Low blood pressure
- Abdominal Pain
How is an allergic reaction diagnosed?
In this case, your doctor will ask you about your health history, ask you about the symptoms, time, and duration of your allergic reactions, and conduct a medical examination. To identify the pathogens, your doctor may additionally perform a blood test or allergy test by applying the presumed allergen, in small quantities, to your infected skin to watch for a reaction. Redness and swelling are an indication that the presumed allergen is the causative agent.
How is an allergic reaction treated?
If you happened a mild allergic reaction, its treatment is usually to avoid exposure to the allergens. In the majority of cases, antihistamines medication (tablets, liquids, capsules, creams, eye drops, or nasal sprays) can be useful in controlling the reactions depending on which part of your body is affected.
If you have anaphylaxis, the treatment approaches include:
- Epinephrine shot
- Oxygen inhalation
- Avoid contact with pathogens in the future
- Immunotherapy to prevent future reactions (useful for hay fever and allergic asthma)
Can allergic reactions be prevented?
Of course, yes, you can prevent an allergic reaction by avoiding the allergens that affect you. And if you always have severe allergic reactions, you should always take an EpiPen and inject with yourself always in case of any symptoms occurrence.
For more information about allergic reactions, you should talk to your physician.