An allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food, ingesting certain medications, or being exposed to certain environmental elements. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing component can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, allergies can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people. The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening emergency. The largest ongoing studies include IgE, SP/AAS IgE, environmental, medication, and food allergies.
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- You must be clinically diagnosed by a medical professional. Confirmation of the diagnosis and/or treatment must be verified with your physician.
- Be pre-screened to determine eligibility.
- You’re willing to donate plasma through the apheresis process.
- You must have a photo ID and be able to provide your social security number or proof of citizenship.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must weight at least 110 lbs.
- You must disclose if you have ever been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and/or HIV.
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The most common signs and symptoms of allergies include tingling or itching in the mouth, hives, itching or eczema, swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body, wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting or dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.
In some people, allergies can trigger a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. This can cause life-threatening signs and symptoms, including constriction and tightening of airways, a swollen throat or the sensation of a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe, shock with a severe drop in blood pressure, rapid pulse, dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness.
Emergency treatment is critical for anaphylaxis. Untreated, anaphylaxis can cause a coma or even death.
The only way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid the triggers that cause signs and symptoms. However, despite your best efforts, you may come into contact with the elements that cause a reaction.
For minor reactions, use an over-the-counter antihistamine.
For severe reactions, you may need an injection of epinephrine and a trip to the emergency room.
This information is not meant for clinical diagnosis, but as an educational resource derived from Mayo Clinic.
Living with a chronic illness can pose great challenges to your daily activity. Being proactive with treatment and donating to research can be a beneficial addition to your routine management. Discovering that you have a disease can be overwhelming with many unanswered questions and concerns. One that may come to mind is “how can I help someone else that may go the same process and struggles that I have experienced?”
You can help by becoming a Specialty Antibody donor! Participating in research allows scientists and clinicians find new treatments, tests and quicker diagnostic methods to improve patient outcomes and, hopefully, prevent the disease in the future.