What Does Hypersensitive Mean?

Hypersensitive is the medical term used to describe an exaggerated or abnormal biological reaction to a stimulus. This reaction may be triggered by the immune system or by other non-immune mechanisms. Non-immune mediated hypersensitive reactions to substances are referred to as being idiosyncratic.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Hypersensitive

Many hypersensitivities are caused by allergic disorders or atopy. Food and chemical allergies, as well as allergies to pollen and pet dander, are all hypersensitivities. However, a person can also develop a hypersensitivity after exposure to a drug or chemical. Some workplace chemicals are known to cause hypersensitivity to develop after repeated exposures. The process of becoming hypersensitive to a substance after repeated exposures is called sensitization. Once sensitized, a person must avoid exposure to the triggering substance or suffer a reaction.

Hypersensitive responses to a substance may be mild, such as itching or nasal congestion, or severe. Some individuals with hypersensitivities are at risk of a life-threatening event called anaphylaxis and must carry emergency medication to counteract the symptoms of such reactions.


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