What Happens During an Allergic Reaction?

Are you one of the over 50 million Americans who experiences allergies each year? Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from a bothersome stuffy/runny nose, sneezing, and itchy/watery eyes to a rash, difficulty swallowing and anaphylaxis.

What actually happens during an allergic reaction? Is there a way to treat the cause? We’ll dig deeper into these questions.

The allergic reaction process

Breathing in, swallowing, or touching allergens (substances your body is allergic to) can trigger an allergic reaction. These substances are harmless for most people, but they are treated as “threats’ for the approximately one in five patients with allergies. Even if you’ve come into contact with an allergen multiple times, your body may treat the environmental substance or food ingredient as dangerous.

To fight the threat, your body overreacts and creates immunoglobulin (IgE), an antibody. The IgE binds to your “defender” mast cells, which are the troublemaker cells that cause allergic reaction symptoms. When allergens come into contact with the IgE that is coating the mast cells, it “tickles” the cell and histamine stored inside is released. That release of histamines triggers bothersome and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction symptoms.1

Treating the cause with sublingual immunotherapy

Allergy symptoms are often managed with allergy medications, but most medications only provide temporary relief. Allergy immunotherapy, including allergy drop  immunotherapy following the La Crosse Method™ Protocol, treats the cause of allergies through a personalized approach that works to build your body’s tolerance to the allergens causing your allergic reactions. The treatment process typically takes three to five years to train your body to tolerate allergens.

Throughout treatment, allergy drop treatment contains an increasing amount of the antigen(s) personalized to your specific trigger allergen(s). This allows your body to gradually build tolerance to your body’s perceived “threats” without causing a negative reaction.

Are you ready to treat the cause of your allergic reactions?

Find a provider near you who has received training and currently reports following the La Crosse Method Protocol for allergy drop immunotherapy.



  1. What happens in my body when I have an allergy? https://www.ecarf.org/en/information-portal/general-allergy-info/what-happens-in-my-body-when-i-have-an-allergy/. Published September 2019. Accessed July 2021.