Seafood Allergies - Glossary

Julia Samuel
Article Reviewed by Dietitian Julia Samuel, M.Phil
Last Updated on Oct 21, 2017
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Glossary

Allergic reaction: A response, such as rash, hives, itching, asthma, hay fever, etc., to an allergen.

Allergy: A hypersensitivity of the body's immune system in response to exposure to specific substances (antigens), such as pollen, beestings, poison ivy, drugs, or foods. Anaphylactic shock is a severe form of allergy response which is a medical emergency. Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include dizziness, loss of consiousness, labored breathing, swelling of the tongue and breathing tubes, blueness of the skin, low blood pressure, and death. 

Allergen: A substance that can trigger an allergic reaction. Asthma can be triggered by dust mites, animal dander, mold, and cockroaches. 

Anaphylaxis: Severe allergic response to a substance. Symptoms include wheezing, itching, nasal congestion, hives, immediate intense burning of hands and feet, collapse with severe drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest. Symptoms of anaphylaxis appear within a few seconds or minutes after exposure to substance causing reaction this can be medication or herbs taken by injection, by mouth, vaginally, rectally, through a breathing apparatus or applied to skin. Anaphylaxis is an uncommon occurrence, but when it occurs, it is a SEVERE MEDICAL EMERGENCY! Without appropriate immediate treatment, it can cause death. Yell for help. Don't leave victim. Begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), mouth-to- mouth breathing and external cardiac massage. Have someone dial "0" or 911. Don't stop CPR until help arrives.

Hives: Elevated patches on skin usually caused by an allergic reaction accompanied by a release of histamine into the body tissues. Patches are redder or paler than the surrounding skin and itch intensely.

Antibodies: Protein produced by white blood cells, which neutralize or destroy foreign proteins in the body (antigens). When infected with virus or bacteria, the body produces antibodies, which destroy the invading microorganisms.

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