An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to a harmless substance, in this case a medication, which triggers an allergic reaction. Sensitivities to drugs may produce similar symptoms, but do not involve the immune system.
Adverse reactions to medications range from vomiting and hair loss with cancer chemotherapy to upset stomach from aspirin or diarrhea from antibiotics. If you take ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors for high blood pressure, you may develop a cough or facial and tongue swelling. In many cases, it can be difficult to determine if the reaction is due to the medication or something else. This is because your symptoms may be similar to other conditions. The most frequent types of allergic symptoms to medications are: Skin rashes, particularly hives Itching, Respiratory problems, Swelling, such as in the face
If you have side effects that concern you, or you suspect a drug allergy has occurred, call your physician. If your symptoms are severe, seek medical help immediately. A serious anaphylactic reaction requires immediate medical attention because the result can be fatal. In most cases of adverse reactions, your physician can prescribe an alternative medication. For serious reactions, your doctor may provide antihistamines, corticosteroids or epinephrine. When no alternative is available and the medication is essential, a desensitization procedure to the medication may be recommended. This involves gradually introducing the medication in small doses until the therapeutic dose is achieved.
An allergy is an abnormal reaction to substances in the environment. They are reaching epidemic proportions, affecting up to 40 percent of the population. Allergies such as hay fever are rare in Singapore, however because of the humidity, heat, change in diet and city pollution, newcomers can be faced with allergies that they may not have experienced in the past.
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