Posted by: Chris Maloney | May 31, 2011

Allergies Come Calling: What To Watch For Hours Later

anaphylaxis

Image by vinc via Flickr

Most of us are very familiar with stage one allergic reactions.  The person eats seafood,and they start to puff up.  You need an epipen and a call to 911 to keep their airway clear. 

But what about the other three stages?  The first immediate allergic response is when the substance, the antigen, causes an immediate histamine cascade.  If the substance has to be digested for you to react, you may not see any response until two hours after you take in that sea slug paste.  Usually people recognize this one pretty easily.  “I don’t do well with___”  It usually involves bowel problems, and is likely to trigger an epipen event if taken in large quantities.

Stage three allergic response doesn’t take place until about twelve hours after you take in the substance.  The antigen has combined with your immune system and only then do you have the allergic response.  It can be harder to spot these reactions, because other things have happened between the event and the reaction.  You might think you were allergic to Lady Gaga videos (which may be common) or body odor from your BFF. 

Stage four allergic response is when your body does not react until all the substance hits your kidneys.  It can be 24 to 48 hours after the initial exposure.  It can elude even the watchful, and needs to be sleuthed out. 

Are there longer reactions?  Yes.  Dairy products have been documented to cause allergic reactions up to eighteen days after the initial exposure.  The official “House God” title goes to the doctor who figured that one out. 

For information on short-changing the allergic gods this season, head to my website.

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