What is Histamine?

When a person has an allergy, the body produces antibodies as a way to safeguard itself from intrusion. As a response, countless antibodies attach to the surface of the cells within bodily tissue. There they wait for the next attack by an allergen that the body has identified as a potential threat. While on guard, they collect assorted chemicals from blood as it circulates through the system, resulting in inflammation.

When another assault takes place, the allergen is bound by specific antibodies and a chemical is released. Histamine, one of these specially designed chemicals contributes to the allergic response set up within the body. Histamine is associated with sneezing, runny noses, itching, and many of the other discomforts associated with allergic reactions.

Anti-allergy medications, referred to as antihistamines, are designed to prevent the histamines from binding to ‘receptors’. Allergic reactions have two phases. There is an early phase, caused when the chemicals are released that can happen immediately after exposure to an allergen. A late phase reaction, occurring when inflammatory cells are brought in for back-up, can occur many hours after exposure. Allergic reactions may cause hives on the skin’s surface. Usually hives appear on the arms, legs, and torso, but they may occur on other parts of the body as well. A severe allergic reaction, such as the one our daughter experienced, can cause swelling within the mouth, tongue, and throat.
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