Are Some Allergies Lethal?
YES! In fact a kiss could kill you! For people with severe forms of food
allergies - the 'exquisitely sensitive' as doctors call them - a microscopic
amount of the food is enough to provoke a severe reaction. There was an
incident where a young man with a fish allergy kissed his girlfriend shortly
after she had eaten mackerel. He had to be rushed to emergency as a result,
but fortunately survived. In another case a young boy with a peanut allergy
nearly died after he was kissed by his aunt who had just eaten a packet of
peanuts. Typically this sort of reaction occurs immediately on contact and
causes swelling of the lips, tongue and throat. Less commonly, it can occur
a few hours later, and affect the stomach and intestines - a delayed
reaction is more common in babies and can result in vomiting, tummy pain and
When the swelling in the mouth is severe, there are often symptoms in more
distant parts of the body as well, caused by food allergens that have
entered the bloodstream. This is described as a systemic reaction because
the body-system as a whole is affected. The name used for systemic allergic
reactions is anaphylaxis and, where it is severe enough to
cause collapse, anaphylactic shock. It is important to be familiar with the
symptoms of this because it can kill really quickly. Recognizing the problem
at an early stage, and taking the right sort of action, can prevent a death.
Anaphylactic shock is the most frightening of all sensitivity reactions to
food because it can kill.
What Causes Anaphylactic Shock?
The most common causes include :-
A food allergy, most commonly to peanuts, shellfish, wheat, eggs and milk.
• Got another question? See: Allergy Questions
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