An allergic reaction is the hypersensitive response of an
individual’s immune system to an irritant.
When a normally harmless substance (allergen) enters the
body, it can cause the body’s immune system to attack the allergen, creating an
adverse (allergic) reaction. Common allergens include:
During an allergic reaction, your immune system releases
antibodies. These are proteins that deliver a message to cells to attack and
remove the foreign substance. The cells then send out histamine, which causes
blood vessels to expand, and other chemicals, which trigger the allergy
An allergic reaction might range from mild and annoying to severe
and even life-threatening.
Anaphylaxis: If your allergy is severe, you may have a serious
reaction called Anaphylaxis. It is a serious situation and can eventually lead
to shock, which can be life-threatening. Food, medications, insect bites, or
latex are frequent causes of anaphylaxis. A second anaphylactic episode can
occur up to 12 hours after the first one.
The symptoms of anaphylaxis typically occur suddenly. They
can quickly advance from a mild rash, sneezing or runny nose to serious
problems such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips and tongue,
tightness in the throat, and hives or swelling.
Some people develop nausea, vomiting, fainting, dizziness, a rapid heart
rate, or even irregular life-threatening heart rhythms. Anaphylactic reactions
can be life-threatening and need urgent medical attention.
Hay fever: Hay fever
is also known as “allergic rhinitis.” Common symptoms include:
Working with a doctor to create an allergy management plan
can help you control the severity and frequency of an allergic reaction. Your
strategy depends on your type of allergy. Here are some ways to manage you
Your doctor may prescribe medicine that you can give yourself or that someone else can give you. An epinephrine auto-injector, or “EpiPen,” is one type of medicine. If you have had previous attacks of anaphylaxis or know you are at risk for anaphylaxis, follow these guidelines:
Patient First treats many conditions at our urgent care centers including allergic reactions. You can visit any Patient First center from 8am to 8pm, any day of the week – no appointment is needed
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