What are the steps of an allergic reaction?

  1. The first time the body is exposed to an allergen, it responds by creating antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE).
  2. IgE antibodies attach to the surface of immune cells called mast cells and basophils.
  3. The next time the body is exposed to the same allergen, the allergen links up with the IgE antibodies. This prompts the mast cells and basophils to release inflammatory chemicals, including histamine and leukotrienes.
  4. The release of histamine and leukotrienes causes the symptoms that are typically associated with allergies. Histamine is responsible for watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy skin. Leukotrienes are responsible for inflammation and the production of a large amount of mucus.
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