Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. It starts with exposure to a substance the body identifi...
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Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. It starts with exposure to a substance the body identifies as an allergen, which produces a series of responses by cells of the immune system. First a dendritic cell captures the allergen, transforms it, and presents it to a T cell. The T cell is then transformed and sends out molecules called interleukins. They transform B cells into plasma cells, which release antibodies called IgE. The IgE bind to basophils in the blood stream and mast cells in tissue. At this point, sensitization is complete. Anaphylaxis occurs the next time the body encounters the allergen. It combines with IgE on basophils and mast cells. This causes release of chemicals, which produce an inflammatory response throughout your body. Within seconds or minutes, your pulse may become weak and rapid. A rash or hives may form. Your airways may narrow, and block your breathing. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Without an injection of epinephrine, a person may die.