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key terms


a substance that enters the body by ingestion, injection, inhalation, or absorption and triggers an allergic reaction

allergic reaction

a misdirected and excessive response by the immune systemto a foreign substance or allergen.

anaphylactic reaction

a reactive release of chemical mediators that produce bronchoconstriction, vasodialation, capillary permeability, and increased mucus production leading to airway and respiratory compromise and hypoperfusion, also called anaphylaxis

anaphylactic shock

a shock (hypoperfusion) state that results from dialated and leaking blood vessels related to severe allergic reaction.

anaphylactoid reaction

a reaction to a foreign substance that resemblesan anaphylactic reaction that may occur on first exposure to the substance, without immune system sensitization


another term for anaphylactic reaction


special proteins produced by the immune system that search out antigens and combine with and help to destroy them


a foreign substance that enters the body and triggers an immune response. see also allergen.


a device with a concealed, spring loaded needle, used for injecting a single dose of medication. An epinephrine auto injector is often prescribed to patients with a history of anaphylactic reaction

endotracheal intubation

placement of a tube down the trachea to facilitate airflow into the trachea and lungs.


a natural hormone that, when used as a medication, constricts blood vessels to improve blood pressure, reduces leakage from blood vessel, relaxes smooth muscle in the bronchioles (causes bronchodilation), and increases the heart rate and force ventricular contractions.


the primary chemical mediator released from the mast cells in an anaphylactic reaction.


raised, red blotches associated with allergic and anaphylactic reactions.


a state of altered reactivity to an antigen, or foreign substance, that causes allergic reactions to that substance. see also sensitization.

immune response

production of antibodies by the immune system to fight off invasion by foreign substances.

immune system

the body's defense mechanism against invasion by foreign substances.


a general feeling of weakness or discomfort.


exposure to an allergenthat results in hypersensitivityh to that allergen. see also hypersensitivity.

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