Thursday, September 30, 2010

Immediate Allergy (immediate hypersensitivity)

An inflammatory reaction responsible for the familiar hay fever, asthma, and hives due to exposure to an ALLERGEN. These symptoms seldom leave any doubt as to their cause. The key lies within mast cells, defending cells embedded in tissues, which carry a bound ANTIBODY (IgE) on their surfaces. Upon contact with an invader, mast cells release inflammatory agents such as histamine and leukotrienes that evoke swelling, itchiness, copious mucous secretion, and the spasm of muscles of the intestinal tract and of air passageways (bronchioles). Common materials often trigger fast-developing reactions: dust, pollen, animal dander, medications, disease-producing microorganisms, and pollutants. Seafood, milk, sulfites, PEANUTS, and strawberries are a few of the food-related causes of immediate hypersensitivity. It may come as a surprise that immediate allergic reactions account for a small fraction of food allergies. Most food allergies are of the slow-reacting type.
Anaphylactic shock is the condition resulting from allergic reaction and affects the whole body quickly. It produces labored breathing, fever, erratic heartbeat, violent coughing, hives and edema, even convulsions. This severe response can be life-threatening. Individuals who are susceptible to severe allergy attacks may be advised to carry injectable medications (“bee sting” kits containing adrenalin or other drugs).

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