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 diarrhea.

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.
- Bee sting
- Medication

Related Questions

• Got another question? See: Allergy Questions

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