Anaphylaxis:

A severe allergic reaction that can sometimes be fatal.

Symptoms 

  • Flushing
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, hands and feet (Angioedema)
  • Upper-respiratory problems, difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Loss of consciousness

Causes

 The common causes of anaphylaxis are drugs, foods, food additives and stinging insects.

Treatment 

If you are experiencing anaphylaxis, seek medical attention immediately. Epinephrine needs to be administered as soon as possible either by EpiPen or medical professional. Other medications that may be used to relieve symptoms are antihistamines and steroids. The sooner the reaction is treated, the less severe it will be. Once the epinephrine is administered you need to seek medical attention as the effects of the epinephrine may wear off within 10-20 minutes.

Prevention

Avoidance of the allergen is the best prevention. However, when avoidance is impossible being prepared for a severe allergic reaction is the best option. Those aware of their life-threatening allergies should wear a medic-alert bracelet, know how to administer epinephrine and carry an EpiPen with them at all times. 

For more information on anaphylaxis or to schedule an appointment with an allergist at Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center, call 205-871-9661.