Monday 29 November 2010

Defining Allergy & Toxicity


The Reaction to Allergy and Toxicity Scale (RATS) is a scale of one to five of the severity and impact of a physical and neural reaction to any substance or combination of substances.

The scale is a broad indicative measure of relative effect. It is not diagnostic and at the margins of the central three parts of the scale the distinctions may be variable or not clear cut.

The intention of the scale is to enable both those affected and those involved in any treatment to have a common perception of the degree and extent of the problem.

Also where an individual has reactions to more than one substance either separately or concurrently it will help to estimate a simple differentiation of effect between one substance or another.

The RATS Scale is:


Extreme (RATS 5)

This is a reaction that is potentially terminal within a short period of time or induces a collapse with loss of consciousness or brain or muscular control. It includes anaphylactic shock or coma or toxic shock.

It will require immediate emergency treatment and probably hospital admission.

A person vulnerable to this level of reaction will have restrictions, safeguards and monitoring at a constant and high level.

It will be critical to determine both the cause of shock and the extent of other issues and vulnerabilities.

Severe (RATS 4)

This may begin in many cases with a lesser form of shock but may arise from either persistent or cumulative reactions. It is when the condition is debilitating with some loss of bodily or neurological function that may be recurrent or chronic.

The impact on function and management of life will be extensive and will require continuing monitoring and safeguards to prevent the risk of a RATS 5 attack.

It will require testing of a number of substances and possibilities to determine any immediate cause of shock and to ascertain whether more than one substance may be involved in the nature of the vulnerability.

Serious (RATS 3)

The impact and extent of the reactions will require continuing medical intervention, treatment and monitoring.

The nature of the reactions will have adverse effects on the individual’s ability to control their environment and in the making of life choices.

Commonly, at this level it will be necessary to impose restrictions, safeguards and active avoidance procedures and measures.

Impairment of mental and physical functions will be evident and disruption of life management.

Moderate (RATS 2)

The reactions will cause marked effects and have more than nuisance value. They will be more evident and medical advice should be sought on the actual and potential causes to try to avoid the risks of increasing severity of reaction.

They will require specific treatment and may be continuing in effect.

Mild (RATS 1)

The reactions will be noticeable and a source of either discomfort or minor medical issues.

They will not be such as to disrupt or to badly impact on life choices or activities but need an awareness of their risks.

In many cases minor medical treatments will be needed or helpful together with an awareness of possible causes.


There is a great deal of information about allergy and the many reactions that can occur. This can be helpful and confusing at the same time.

An issue is that the word “allergy” is used extensively for many types and levels of reaction and as a colloquial descriptive word for any effect and sometimes opinion.

Attempts are made to distinguish reactions by the use of words such as “intolerance” and “sensitivity”, which can be useful to assist recognition in terms of the Mild Level 1 RATS effect but are too wide in their meaning to deal with severity.

The issue of “toxic” effects is less recognised and may be difficult to define without
Immunological analysis but the word can be used in broad terms especially at RATS
Levels 4 and 5, Severe and Extreme.

Possibly “toxic” is more applicable to effects that are immediate and powerful.

There are two matters that interconnect. The first is that allergy, medically, is one set of reactions and toxicity is another. However there may be areas of uncertainty and overlap. The other is the difficulty of assessing cause and effect.

One real and major problem is that most ordinary science is concerned only with a linear approach to research or investigation; that is the search for a single cause with an identifiable single effect.

This dominates the handling of cases and treatment. But allergy and toxicity issues are likely to be far more complicated.

Reactions may have complex causes and in turn particular causes might have complex effects. Medical services at present cannot cope with complexity and are reluctant to admit them.

Dealing with any complexity requires rigorous monitoring, assessment and analysis normally over a period of time. What appears to be a cause may only be a means for another cause to take effect notably in post viral reactions.

No comments:

Post a Comment