Allergic Reactions are caused by the body's immune system having a reaction to an otherwise innocuous (should NOT trigger an immune response) substance (an allergen). Specifically, in response to the allergen, the body releases far too much of a protein known as histamine. The symptoms of this release are known as an allergic reaction.
Allergic reactions can range from mild to life threatening and can occur within moments of contact with the allergen. A mild reaction may consist of hives, itching and/or a localizer rash. A sever reaction, however, may be life threatening and requires IMMEDIATE medical attention! A severe reaction is known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, and the onset of symptoms is usually rapid and acute. These symptoms include (but may not be limited to) hives, itching, sweating, chills, and, in the worst cases, SEVERE airway constriction (the wind pipe closes up).
Severe reactions are extremely unlikely and rare (virtually unheard of) in body modification.
Reactions can occur with the materials used in jewelry (in the case of metallic jewelry, MANY people have a hypersensitivity to nickel, commonly found in "cheap" jewelry), cleaning products, immediate care products, and even such things as an allergic reaction to the adhesive on a bandage that may be used to cover a fresh wound/modification.
Common Allergies in Body Modification
- Metal Allergy (generally a response to nickel)
- Green Soap Allergy (sometimes used in tattooing)
- Adhesive Tape Allergy (to the tape used to secure a bandage over a mod)
- Ink Allergy (a reaction to tattoo ink)
- Wood Allergy (a reaction to certain types of organic jewelry)
- Anesthetic Allergy (while rare, it is possible to react to anesthetics if they are used)
- Latex Allergy (this is a very common problem for both clients and especially practitioners)
- Penicillin Allergy (antibiotics are often used for clearing up piercing-related infections, and some people have allergic reactions)