Although allergic reactions are becoming increasingly common, extreme anaphylactic reactions are quite rare. However, this serious condition is potentially life-threatening so sufferers should avoid triggers as much as possible to reduce their chances of another reaction. Find out more about anaphylaxis and its triggers below.
What causes an anaphylactic reaction?
Like other allergic reactions, anaphylaxis is caused by the immune system overreacting to a harmless substance. These harmless substances are called allergens because of the reaction they cause. The immune system mistakenly responds to the allergen as if it is a threat. During anaphylaxis, the allergen triggers chemical substances such as histamine to be released. These chemicals cause severe symptoms like swelling of throat and mouth which is commonly associated with an anaphylactic reaction.
What are common triggers of anaphylaxis?
Allergens differ for each person but there are some widespread causes that affect people who have anaphylactic episodes. Insect stings are the most common cause of anaphylaxis, in particular bee and wasp stings. Foods like shellfish, dairy products, eggs and tree nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts are also typical triggers. Peanuts are responsible for more than half of anaphylactic reactions that are linked to food. These reactions can also be related to medicine such as antibiotics or general anaesthetic. Another common causes is natural latex used in condoms and gloves.
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