An allergic reaction occurs when certain substances called allergens come into contact with:
- Digestive tract.
Most of the reactions manifest themselves very quickly after contact with the allergen:
- Many allergic reactions are mild.
- Others are serious and can lead to death.
Usually, the reactions are limited to a small part of the body, but can also affect the entire organism.
The most severe form is called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.
A food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy.
Allergies are a response of the immune system, while intolerance is a response of the digestive system, which cannot properly crush and digest the food (the most common is intolerance to lactose).
There are many substances to which a person can be allergic, for example:
- bee venom,
- some foods,
Even if the contact leads to only a mild reaction the first few times, repeated contact can cause the most severe symptoms.
If a person has already been exposed to an allergic reaction (sensitized), even a small amount of the allergen can trigger a serious reaction.
After how much time does the allergic reaction manifest itself?
A severe allergic reaction occurs within seconds to minutes after exposure to the allergen.
Nevertheless, some reactions may only appear after a few hours, especially if the allergen is a food.
Anaphylaxis is an immediate allergic reaction that manifests itself in a few minutes after contact.
Without immediate therapy, anaphylaxis can develop very quickly:
- and lead to death within 15 minutes.
Mechanism of an allergic reaction
The immune system has white blood cells that produce antibodies.
- When the body is exposed to an antigen, a series of complex reactions begins.
The white blood cells produce a specific antibody against this antigen. This phenomenon is called “sensitization“.
- The task of antibodies is to recognize the substances that cause the disease and to help destroy them.
In allergic reactions, the antibody is called immunoglobulin E or IgE.
This antibody promotes the production and release of chemical substances and hormones, so-called “mediators”.
- The mediators cause local tissue and organ effects and eventually lead to the release of further white blood cells. These effects cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
- Histamine is one of the most important mediators that the body produces.
If the release of mediators occurs suddenly and to an extraordinary extent, the allergic reaction can immediately become serious, even anaphylactic shock may occur.
- Allergic reactions are individual for each person.
The reaction time to allergens can vary greatly. Some people have an allergic reaction immediately, others need more time for it to develop.
Type of allergic reaction
Hypersensitivity reaction type I The hypersensitivity reaction type I
is called hypersensitivity reaction of immediate type or anaphylactic type.
The response to local anaphylaxis may involve the following areas of the body:
- skin (urticaria and eczema),
- eyes (conjunctivitis),
- nasopharynx (rhinorrhea, rhinitis),
- bronchopulmonary tissue (asthma),
- Gastrointestinal tract (gastroenteritis).
The reaction can begin from a few minutes to 2-4 hours after allergen exposure.
Hypersensitivity reaction type II
The hypersensitivity reaction type II (or cytotoxic type) can affect different organs and tissues. Typically, the antigens are endogenous, even though exogenous chemicals (haptens) can cause this reaction.
As an example of this reaction, the following are known:
This reaction can occur with:
- blood transfusions with incompatible blood groups,
- hemolytic anemia of the newborn due to incompatibility of the Rh factor (antigen of blood) between mother and fetus,
- hemolytic anemia caused by medications.
Hypersensitivity reaction type III
The hypersensitivity reaction type III (immune complex type).
Immune complexes are formed from an antigen and the associated antibody.
With excessive number, the body is not able to eliminate them.
The immune complexes accumulate in the tissues and cause an inflammatory reaction.
The reaction may be generalized/systemic (e.g., serum sickness) or affect individual organs, such as:
- skin (lupus),
- kidneys (lupus nephritis),
- lungs (aspergillosis),
- blood vessels (vasculitides, such as cryoglobulinemic vasculitis),
- joints (rheumatoid arthritis).
Hypersensitivity reaction type IV
The hypersensitivity reaction type IV (or delayed type) can occur with a long delay, even 48-72 hours after injection of the antigen. The reaction is characterized by:
- Skin hardening.
Contact dermatitis is a typical example of a delayed hypersensitivity reaction.
Delayed hypersensitivity reactions also occur in:
- patients with tuberculosis (TB),
- viral infections of the liver,
- Transplant rejection.
Symptoms of allergic reactions
Among the symptoms of mild allergy are:
- Urticaria (especially above the neck and face)
- Itching on the skin
- Nasal congestion and hay fever
- Rash and pimples
- Reddened eyes
- Heavy lacrimation.
Symptoms of a moderate or severe reaction may include:
- Abdominal pain and abdominal cramps
- Unusual breathing sounds
- Chest pain or tightness
- Breathing difficulties
- Swallowing disorders
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling of the face, tongue and eyes
- Difficult breathing
How long does the allergic reaction last?
Usually, urticaria and mild allergic reactions pass on their own and last from 10 minutes to a few days.
Therapy for allergic reaction
- The only way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid the elements that cause these signs and symptoms.
- In the case of a mild allergic reaction, over-the-counter or medically prescribed antihistamines may reduce symptoms.
These drugs can be taken after exposure to an allergen to alleviate itching and urticaria caused by the allergy.
- In case of a serious allergic reaction, an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) should help.
Why are corticosteroids used?
- Causes fluid retention.
Cortisone helps reduce the symptoms of the allergic reaction. You can do it:
- take in tablet form,
- apply in the form of creams.
For allergic rhinitis, for example, doctors often prescribe celestamines (cortisone to be taken orally).
Natural remedies for urticaria and mild allergic reactions
Sodium bicarbonate is a substance that can reduce symptoms.
Oatmeal is very helpful for irritated skin.
To do this, fill a tub with water and add half a kilogram of bicarbonate.
Add a cup of oatmeal to the water.
Bathe in it for at least 10-15 minutes.
Diet and nutrition against allergic reactions
Natural therapies cure allergic reactions mainly by changing the diet, but also by improving the lifestyle.
According to hygienism (a theory of natural lifestyle), the substances cause allergies only in people who have a high concentration of toxins in the blood.
After a change in diet, the body no longer shows allergic reactions, despite contact with sweet grasses, latex, etc. It is not easy to change its eating habits, but one should not underestimate the negative effects that food can have on our body.
According to the hygienist Shelton, a person will no longer suffer from his allergy if he does without the following in the future:
- animal proteins (meat, fish, eggs, dairy products),
- processed foods and condiments.
The blood type diet is a natural diet that depends on the blood type of the person. The human immune system can develop symptoms and diseases when it comes into contact with certain foods.
A food can:
- harmful to members of a particular blood group,
- be harmless to everyone else.
In contrast to the vegan diet recommended by hygienism, this form of diet is based on animal and vegetable proteins.
According to the blood group diet, all allergy sufferers should refrain from:
- cereals (belong to the grass family),
- milk and dairy products,
Recommended foods are:
- Vegetables – practically all varieties are suitable, only tomatoes occasionally have problems,
Avoid fried foods.
- Allergic skin reactions to food, medications and insects
- Allergic and irritant contact dermatitis
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