Symptoms of Anaphylaxis and its Treatment
What is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. It is a condition caused by an IgE-mediated reaction.
What are the common causes of anaphylaxis?
Common causes of anaphylaxis include:
- Food: such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, fish and shellfish (although any food can cause a reaction)
- Insect stings: such as yellow jackets, honeybees, wasps, hornets and fire ants
- Latex: natural rubber products such as condoms or latex gloves
What are the typical symptoms of a severe allergic reaction?
Any of these signs or symptoms may be present. Identifying anaphylaxis as soon as it starts is important.
- Skin: hives, eczema flare, itchy, red rash
- Gastrointestinal: cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Respiratory: runny nose, sneezing, cough, tightness of chest, wheezing, shortness of breath.
- Cardiovascular: drop in blood pressure,
- Others: fainting, watery eyes, Itching or swelling of lips, tongue, or throat, change in voice, difficulty swallowing
What is the treatment of anaphylaxis?
When exposed to a known allergen, involvement of any two systems of the body necessitates immediate treatment with epinephrine.
How to prevent occurrence of anaphylaxis?
Any delay in the recognition of the initial signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis can result in a fatal outcome, either because of airway obstruction or vascular collapse.
- School personnel should be informed about a student’s history of anaphylaxis and the specific food (or foods) to which the child is allergic.
- An allergen-free environment should be constructed for the child at mealtime to prevent accidental ingestion such as might occur with shared food.
- There should be a written response plan available that can be initiated immediately if a reaction occurs.
Medications should be stored in an easily accessible location. The best place to keep medications is with the student.
- Are history and physical findings compatible with anaphylaxis?
- Are there cutaneous manifestations, specifically pruritus, flush, urticaria and angioedema?
- Is there any sign of airway obstruction involving either the upper airway or the lower airway?
- Are there gastrointestinal symptoms (ie, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea)?
- Are syncope or presyncopal symptoms present?
What are the medications for anaphylaxis treatment?
Epinephrine is the only medication that can reverse severe anaphylactic symptoms. It is available by prescription.
Antihistamines are used to relieve the itching and dermatologic symptom.
Steroids: Steroids are often given in an attempt to protect against the “late” reaction that can occur several hours after the allergic reaction. Steroids do not reverse the acute symptoms of anaphylaxis; the effects of steroids may take hours. For some patients, particularly those with asthma, this late reaction could be even more severe than the initial reaction.
If you have any allergy related issues feel free to contact Allergy Specialist in Bangalore - Dr. Puneeth KN for a consultation.
About the Author
Dr Puneet. K. Nagendra
MBBS, DTCD, DNB (Pulmonary Medicine)
Presently I render my clinical services as an Allergist & Pulmonologist in Bengaluru Allergy Centr, PD Hinduja Sindhi Hospital, Excelcare Hospital and Mahapranajeeva - Speciality Centre for Respiratory diseases at Bengaluru.
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