Allergies are actually fairly common with reactions ranging from relatively mild, to moderate, severe and even extreme.
For many allergy sufferers the reactions and symptoms can be simply annoying. For other allergy sufferers it can cause a complete change to the way they live their lives and require constant vigilence to avoid life-threatening situations.
Most allergic reactions are mild and, while frustrating, they are easily managed.
A mild reaction is usually concentrated in the area of the body that came in contact with the allergen. For example, brushing against plants or inhaling pollen. Sufferers may
- become itchy,
- have watering eyes,
- sneeze for extended periods of time
A moderate reaction usually affects other parts of the body as well and can include
- rashes or itching,
- experience excessive mucus production,
- coughing or wheezing,
- swelling, and
- can involve breathing difficulties
Severe reactions will spread through the whole body, beginning with itching or a rash but quickly progressing to swelling. Other symptoms of a severe reaction can include
- stomach cramps,
- breathing difficulties and
- problems with swallowing
An extreme reaction is also known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.
This type of reaction can cause death, with more than 200 people per year dying in the US alone. In Australia people presenting to emergency departments suffering anaphylactic reactions is on the rise but fatal reactions are thankfully very low.
Anaphlylaxis is a word invented in Paris in 1901 or 1902 by Paul Portier and Charles Richet and means "the opposite of protection".
Learn more about