What happens during an allergic reaction?
When an allergen enters the body it triggers an antibody response, known as the immune cascade. The antibodies attach themselves to special cells called mast cells. In response, the mast cells release certain substances, one of which is histamine.
Histamine is targeted in the treatment of allergic reactions because it is the major cause of the two main allergic symptoms. Firstly, it causes an inflammatory response and secondly it causes smooth muscle to constrict, which results in obvious symptoms like:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Itchy skin, breakouts and/or hives