Most people attribute sneezing, congestion, watery eyes, and hives to allergies. However, angioedema is another allergic reaction that you should be aware of. Angioedema is swelling deep underneath the skin, typically in the ears, hands or feet, or around the mouth and eyes. Here's what you need to know.
Histamine & Angioedema
When you are affected by an allergen, your body produces histamine. The swelling of the skin is caused by the immune system pumping histamine-filled fluids to the affected areas. This is not the same thing as hives, which are pockets of fluid directly underneath the skin. With hives, there are defined edges. With angioedema, the fluid is so deep underneath the skin that the edges are not defined. Unlike with hives, angioedema typically is not itchy. However, it can be painful. Hives can occur at the same time as angioedema.
Angioedema of the Throat
The most important thing to understand about angioedema is that it can occur in the throat if the histamine level continues to rise due to no medical treatment and/or continued exposure to the allergen. Swelling in the throat is a medical emergency because it can cut off the air supply. If the throat is swollen from angioedema, epinephrine will be crucial. Epinephrine is a life-saving medication that is injected. Call 911 or go to the nearest ER as quickly as possible for epinephrine and medical treatment, which may include an oxygen mask and monitoring of your respiratory and heart rates.
Angioedema is often associated with food allergies, but it can instead be an allergic reaction to anything, particularly to pets, insect stings, and latex. Due to how severe angioedema can get, it is crucial that you have allergy testing to determine the cause of your allergic reaction. Your primary care physician can give you a referral to an allergist for testing.
In order for the testing to give accurate results, you may need to have the testing done when there is no antihistamine in your body. This means that you will need to be extremely careful in coming into contact with suspected allergens in order to give your body a chance to stop producing histamine so you can stop taking antihistamine to prepare for your testing. Therefore, if you suspect that your have developed an allergy to your pet, consider staying in a hotel room or with a friend or family member until you are able to have allergy testing.
For more information, visit http://www.oakbrookallergists.com or a similar website.
I was badly injured a year ago, and it took a long time to get back to my normal level of ability. One of the things that helped more than anything was the time that I spent in physical therapy. I didn’t always love going to physical therapy – in fact, sometimes, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. But ultimately, the therapists and other patients I worked with helped inspire me to get better, and the exercises facilitated my healing process. I started this blog to talk about all of the things I learned about physical therapy and healing during my recovery time. I hope my blog reaches other accident victims. I want to offer encouragement, hope, and information for people who are in the same boat that I was in.