Anaphylaxis, the most emergent manifestation of allergy, is best described by its clinical pathologic alterations. Sites of involvement include skin (urticaria), upper respiratory tract (laryngeal edema), lower respiratory tract (bronchospasm), and the cardiovascular system (severe hypotension). Ultrastructural analysis of skin biopsies obtained from individuals experiencing exercise-induced anaphylaxis prior to and immediately after exercise revealed changes indistinguishable from those observed following immunologic challenge of pulmonary mast cells. These alterations included enlargement of the mast cell granules, solubilization (discharge) of mast cell granule contents, merger of the granule membranes with adjacent granule membranes, as well as the mast cell membrane. The successful reversal of anaphylaxis requires the prompt recognition of symptoms and early institution of therapy for anaphylaxis. Patients suffering from exercise-induced anaphylaxis should avoid any foods, drinks, or pharmaceutical agents, particularly acetyl salicylic acid for four and preferably six hours prior to exercise.
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