What Is a Mild Allergic Reaction?

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  • Written By: Nicole Etolen
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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A mild allergic reaction is an allergic reaction that isn’t life threatening, but can still cause moderate discomfort to sufferers. While a severe allergic reaction can cause the throat to swell shut, compromising breathing, a mild allergic reaction usually just results in itching, redness, and irritation. It is important to keep in mind, however, that mild reactions can worsen over time, so those experiencing one should still alert their doctors.

A mild allergic reaction can have numerous potential causes. Some people may be slightly allergic to bee stings, for example, while others may have a reaction to certain household chemicals. Different foods, especially shellfish and tree nuts, can also trigger allergic reactions. Even a blood transfusion or other medical procedure that introduces a foreign substance into the body can trigger a reaction. Those who develop an allergic reaction and cannot determine the source of the reaction should visit an allergist to help them determine the trigger.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction vary from person to person. The most common signs include an itchy rash on the body. For contact allergies, the rash is usually localized to the part of the body that touched the substance, but with internal exposure — caused by eating or breathing in the trigger — the rash can spread across the entire body. Itching without a rash is also possible. Other symptoms may include watery eyes and nasal congestion.


Treating a mild allergic reaction usually only requires over-the-counter medications and creams. Antihistamine capsules or pills are the most common medications because an allergic reaction occurs as a result of special cells in the body that release a substance called histamine. This in turn triggers the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Creams containing antihistamines can help relieve the itching sensation. If the allergic reaction is caused by skin contact with a household chemical, washing the area with soap and water and applying medicinal cream may be enough to relieve the symptoms.

A mild allergic reaction can elevate to a severe allergic reaction without warning. Even if a person suffers a mild reaction to a certain substance for many years, that substance can eventually trigger a much more severe response. The substance causes a sensitization process in the body, which worsens through repeated exposure. Once a trigger is identified, it is important to avoid it as much as possible, or carry medication if avoiding the trigger is not possible. For contact allergies, wearing gloves while doing housework and using alternate cleaning supplies can help prevent complications.


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