Immediate Hypersensitivity Immune Response

by Michael_Koger

Immediate hypersensitivity immune response requires quick diagnosis and management.

The occurrence of a hypersensitivity immune response indicates that the person is allergic to a medication, food, insect venom, or some other substance which he or she cannot tolerate. When the reaction is immediate, the situation is life-threatening, and prompt medical attention is necessary to reverse it [1, 2].

Immediate reactions are those which physicians classify as anaphylaxis. Of the food items which may prompt this, peanuts are especially common. Exercise and exposure to latex can also trigger it, and workers who use latex gloves must observe whether they ever have skin irritation from them [1, 2].

Immediate hypersensitivity immune response generally occurs in people who are between the ages of 20 and 49 [1].

Medical Therapy

These patients will likely respond to injections of epinephrine, and this is why it is important for people with allergies to carry a kit with them at all times.  Transport to a hospital or other health care facility is necessary for further management; however, the use of epinephrine in the kit will enable the patient to benefit from therapy within seconds of the event [1, 2]. 

Anaphylaxis is serious because it affects more than one organ system.  It can also lead to death of the patient unless he or she receives medical intervention [1, 2].

With these observations, it is evident that clients who have heart disease or bronchial asthma will be especially susceptible in the event of an anaphylactic reaction.  The use of oxygen therapy, epinephrine, intravenous fluids, antihistamines, or corticosteroids is particularly beneficial to these individuals [1, 2].

Clinical Signs and Symptoms

These clients experience itching, hives, redness, sneezing, runny nose, and swelling of the lips or tongue.  There may be a sensation of tightness in the throat or difficulty swallowing, and the larynx commonly becomes swollen.  Chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough, and wheezing can take place as well.  Should the pulse become weak or the patient faint, cardiogenic shock may be imminent [1, 2].


Allergic reactions, whether immediate or delayed, are serious matters.  Patients and their families must know how to manage them in order to afford the best medical outcome.


  1. Gonzalez-Estrada, A.  M.D. and Radojicic, C. M.D.  (2015).  Penicillin allergy:  A practical guide for clinicians.  Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 82, 295-300.
  2. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  (2015).  Anaphylaxis.  Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  3. The photo shows allergen skin testing.  Reprinted with permission from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Dr. Frank Perlman/M.A. Parsons.


The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact their physician for advice.

Updated: 05/24/2015, Michael_Koger
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