Allergic reactions produce an array of symptoms that can affect the skin, lungs and airways, and the heart and cirulatory system—usually within an hour of exposure. Table 03 Reactions range in severity. Typically, the faster symptoms come on the worse the reaction will be. Skin symptoms such as flushing and itchiness are typical. Red, raised swellings with a white center (hives) are another allergic skin reaction. Allergic reactions can cause swelling in the airways, making it hard to breathe. The person may feel the throat closing in or tightening in the chest. Sometimes blood pressure drops quickly and causes weakness and fainting, or the heart starts beating erratically. This places the person in a state of extreme distress. He or she may feel nauseous and vomit.
Table 3. Symptoms of Allergic Reactions
Skin flushing, redness, hives, itching Eye and Nose red, watery eyes; runny nose, congestion, sneezing Respiratory Throat swelling, chest tightness Cardiovascular Heartbeat abnormalities, severe drop in blood pressure, dizziness Gastrointestinal Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
People who have a history of allergies are the most likely to have an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions from aspirin and latex occur more frequently in women, and those from insect stings occur more frequently in men. This seems to have more to do with exposure than gender. People who have heart disease or asthma tend to have more severe allergic reactions than others.
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