Definition of Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions are acute body responses to specific things called allergens that come into contact with the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, eyes, nose and skin. These things/ substances can be injected, swallowed or inhaled into the lungs.

Allergic reactions commonly occur. Reaction of the immune system to substances that cause hay fever is similar to the reaction that causes allergic reactions. A lot of allergic responses occur right after contact with an allergen.

People usually experience mild allergic reactions although others can manifest potentially deadly and severe reactions. Some reactions are localized or just occur in one area of the body while some reactions can affect the whole body. Anaphylactic shock (or anaphylaxis) is the most severe type of allergic reaction. Allergic reactions often strike individuals who have a family history of allergies.

Things that can lead to allergic reactions in people (like pollens, medications, certain foods and bee sting poison) can be harmless to others. Typically your initial contact with an allergen produces a mild response; the next and subsequent contacts can elicit more severe responses. After an allergic reaction is sensitized or once you had exposure to an allergen, you can experience a serious reaction even from brief contact with an allergen.

Typically within seconds or minutes of contact with an allergen, serious reactions can occur. There can also be delayed reactions that may manifest only several hours after exposure to the allergen. This usually occurs after a person eats a food he/she is allergic to. There are even reactions that only manifest after a whole day has passed although this only happens very rarely.

Anaphylaxis is an extreme and sudden allergic response that strikes after some minutes of contact. Fast medical attention is required for this problem because anaphylaxis can worsen very quickly and can result in death if left untreated for about 15 minutes.

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