Exploring the Common Types of Allergic Reactions

Exploring the Common Types of Allergic Reactions

Allergies are very common among patients. Episodes of allergic reactions and triggers differ from one patient to another. Ideally, it helps if you know about the things you are allergic to, to proven reactions. Unfortunately, many people are not conversant with their allergic triggers and stimulants until they experience an allergic reaction.

Fortunately, allergic reactions can be treated. However, it is still important to master the type of allergic reaction you have and find a coping mechanism for it.

What Is an Allergic Reaction?

It is a medical condition that describes the unpleasant response of the body’s immune system to a foreign substance. When you introduce a foreign substance in your body that the immune system does not agree with, the response will be a sign of distress. This will be as a result of your immune system trying to fight infection in your body.

Even then, it does not mean that your immune system is always fighting off bad things. In some cases, your immune system will fight off substances that are not necessarily fashioned to harm your body.

What Causes Allergic Reactions?

Exposure to allergens is what triggers an allergic response from your body. The allergens can be inhaled, swallowed, or even touched, provoking the immune system to respond to the current threat. The concrete reasons why people have allergies is still unknown. For some people, allergies run in their family, while others are just the first of their generation. Nonetheless, it is commonly agreed among doctors that allergies are caused by either one of the following allergens:

  1. Mold
  2. Pollen
  3. Medication like aspirin
  4. Bites from insects, for example, bee sting
  5. Some types of foods, especially proteins like fish, beef and nuts

​What Are the 4 Types of Allergic Reactions?

​Before you can seek allergic reaction treatment, you need to know a thing or two about the classifications of allergies. Technically, you can categorize allergies based on the types of allergens. This way, you would have food allergies, drug allergies, venom allergy, animal allergy, chemical allergy, to mention a few. However, aside from those categories, there are 4 types of allergic reactions:

  1. Anaphylactic reactions – it is also known as type I allergic reaction. It is the type common for allergens like pollen, dust mites, pets, to mention a few. Examples of this type I allergic reaction are anaphylaxis, hay fever, bronchial asthma, eye inflammation, to mention a few. It is mediated by IgE antibodies which are proteins produced by the immune system.
  2. Cytotoxic reactions – it is type II allergic reactions, usually mediated by both IgG and IgM antibodies. Examples include blood transfusion reactions and autoimmune diseases like hemolytic anemia.
  3. Immunocomplex reactions – type III allergic reactions are mediated the same proteins as cytotoxic reactions. Examples include chronic infections like leprosy or diseases like lupus.
  4. Cell-mediated reactions – type IV reactions are unique in how they occur. Typically, the symptoms start manifesting about 24 hours after you have been exposed to the allergens. For others, it may even take as long as 72 hours. Examples include periodontal disease, fungal infections, and tuberculosis.

​What Are the Symptoms of Allergic Reactions?

Allergic reaction symptoms differ among patients. Usually, it depends on what you are allergic to and how aggressive the defense mechanism of your immune system is in fighting the threat. Some of the common symptoms are:

  1. Itchy spots on the skin – they are usually called hives. While hives may not exactly be the reason you rush to an emergency room in Houston, they are indicators of allergic reactions.
  2. Itching of your skin along with rashes
  3. Swelling of part of your body – usually the area of contact of the allergen. Most people notice the swelling on their face, tongue, and eyes.
  4. Scratchy throat and difficulty swallowing food or drinks.
  5. Nasal congestion – if it is too severe, or may cause you to need immediate services or an ER near you.
  6. The tightness of the chest
  7. Anxiety – panic attacks are very probable when you have an allergic reaction.
  8. Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

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