WHAT IS ANAPHYLAXIS?
Anaphylaxis is an acute hypersensitive immune response to an allergen. The reaction can be mild, moderate, or severe and may increase in severity with each exposure to the allergen. It can occur within minutes of exposure or develop over a few hours. Anaphylaxis is a very serious condition that requires immediate attention.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Due to the severity of the immune reaction, the initial symptom may be loss of consciousness, but symptoms often involve one or two organ systems. Gastrointestinal symptoms include numbness or swelling of the tongue or throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Respiratory issues include difficulty breathing. Your face could feel flushed, and you could also experience chest pain or an extreme drop in blood pressure. Anaphylaxis is a dangerous condition causing a sudden flush of chemicals throughout the body that can result in extreme shock or death.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
If you exhibited a sudden or strong immune response to an allergen in the past, see your Gateway Asthma & Allergy Relief doctor to determine what triggered the response. Conducting allergy testing (skin-prick tests, blood tests, or oral food challenges) in a controlled environment allows your doctor to determine the cause and magnitude of your response while being able to treat you immediately should a severe reaction occur. If you have allergies or asthma or have had severe reactions before, you are at greater risk for Anaphylaxis.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
If you are at risk for Anaphylaxis, you will be issued an epinephrine auto-injector to carry with you for self-administration during a reaction. Your Gateway Asthma & Allergry Relief doctor will educate you on what signs to look for before your reaction becomes full-blown and, more importantly, what to do if you have a reaction. It is important to carry or wear identification describing your allergy and who to call in an emergency. Antihistamines are not helpful during a reaction but may be taken after to help minimize symptoms. Corticosteroids may be given to prevent relapse or long-lasting Anaphylaxis. See your doctor immediately if you suspect you may have had or are at risk for Anaphylaxis.