Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that affects a number of different areas of the body at one time, and can be fatal. Causes of anaphylaxis can be food allergy, latex allergy, allergy to insect or but stings/bites, asthma, or other materials or conditions. Symptoms include flushing, itching, hives, anxiety, rapid or irregular pulse. Severe symptoms may be throat and tongue swelling, swallowing, and difficulty breathing. Some disorders appear similar to anaphylaxis such as fainting, panic attacks, blood clots in the lungs, heart attacks, and septic shock. If you think that you may be having an anaphylactic reaction, seek emergency care or call 911 immediately. Read more: Anaphylaxis Article
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Related Disease Conditions
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Low blood pressure, also referred to as hypotension, is blood pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. Some of the symptoms of low blood pressure include light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting if not enough blood is getting to the brain. Diseases and medications can also cause low blood pressure. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys; the organs do not function normally and may be permanently damaged.
Flea Bites (In Humans)
Flea bites are caused by the parasitic insect, the flea. The most common species of flea in the US is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Signs and symptoms of flea bites in humans include itching, hives, a rash with bumps, red spots with a "halo," and swelling around the bite. Treatment for flea bites includes over-the-counter medicine and natural and home remedies to relieve and soothe itching and inflammation. The redness of a flea bite can last from a few hours to a several days.
Hives, also called urticaria, is a raised, itchy area of skin that is usually a sign of an allergic reaction. The allergy may be to food or medications, but usually the cause of the allergy (the allergen) is unknown.
What Are the Four Types of Allergic Reactions?
Allergists recognize four types of allergic reactions: Type I or anaphylactic reactions, type II or cytotoxic reactions, type III or immunocomplex reactions and type IV or cell-mediated reactions.
There are a variety of diseases and conditions that can cause tongue problems, discoloration, and soreness. Though most tongue problems are not serious. Conditions such as leukoplakia, oral thrush, and oral lichen planus may cause a white tongue while Kawasaki syndrome, scarlet fever, and geographic tongue may cause the tongue to appear red. A black hairy tongue may be caused by overgrown papillae on the tongue. Canker sores, smoking, and trauma may cause soreness of the tongue.
Medical shock is a life-threatening medical condition. There are several types of medical shock, including: septic shock, anaphylactic shock, cardiogenic shock, hypovolemic shock, and neurogenic shock. Causes of shock include: heart attack, heart failure, heavy bleeding (internal and external), infection, anaphylaxis, spinal cord injury, severe burns, chronic vomiting or diarrhea. Low blood pressure is the key sign of sock. Treatment is dependant upon the type of shock.
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching to include: infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life-threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers. Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
Bee and Wasp Sting
Bees, wasps, and fire ants are related insects that belong to the Hymenoptera order. There are thousands of species of wasps found throughout the world. Common wasps are yellow jackets and hornets. Types of bees include honey bees, the Africanized honey bee (killer bee), and the bumble bee. There are four types of reactions to a bee or wasp sting; local reaction, systemic allergic reaction, toxic reaction, and delayed reaction. Individuals who have a systemic or toxic reaction generally require immediate medical treatment to prevent anaphylactic reaction, and possibly death.
How Long Does an Allergic Reaction Last?
Allergic reactions may last for varying lengths of time. They may take a few hours to a few days to disappear. If the exposure to the allergen continues, such as during a spring pollen season, allergic reactions may last for longer periods such as a few weeks to months.
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in water, soil, and the air. Mercury also is contained in some fish, some of the products we use in the home, school, or dentist. Mercury poisoning can cause cognitive problems, dermatitis, tremor and other symptoms. Information about sources of mercury exposure, potential health effects, symptoms of exposure, fish that may contain mercury, consumer products that contain mercury, and ways to reduce your exposure to mercury is important for the health of you, and your family.
Spider Bites (Black Widow and Brown Recluse)
Most spiders in the United States are harmless; however, black widow and brown recluse spider bites may need medical treatment. Symptoms of a harmless spider bite generally include pain, redness, and irritation. Signs and symptoms of black widow spider bite include pain immediately, redness, burning, and swelling at the site of the bite. Sometimes the person will feel a pinprick or double fang marks. Brown recluse spider bite symptoms and signs are a mild sting, followed by severe pain and local redness. These symptoms usually develop within eight hours or more after the bite. Black widow and brown recluse spider bites have similar symptoms, for example, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, and abdominal or joint pain. Generally, brown recluse and black widow spider bites need immediate medical treatment. If you think that you or someone you know has been bitten by a brown recluse or black widow spider, go to your nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Department for medical treatment.
Swallowing Problems (Dysphagia)
Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing, swallowing problems. Dysphagia is due to problems in nerve or muscle control. It is common, for example, after a stroke. Dysphagia compromises nutrition and hydration and may lead to aspiration pneumonia and dehydration.
The most common food allergies are to eggs, nuts, milk, peanuts, fish, shellfish, strawberries and tomatoes. Symptoms and signs of a food allergy reaction include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, itching, hives, eczema, asthma, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis. Allergy skin tests, RAST, and ELISA tests may be used to diagnose a food allergy. Though dietary avoidance may be sufficient treatment for mild allergies, the use of an Epipen may be necessary for severe food allergies.
Peanut allergies causes signs and symptoms that include hives, itching, redness, and a rash. Severe reactions may cause decreased blood pressure, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, nausea, and behavioral changes. Someone with a peanut allergy should have an EpiPen with them at all times.
The allergic cascade refers to allergic reactions that happen in the body in response to allergens. A variety of immune cells and chemical messengers participate in the allergic cascade. Symptoms of the allergic cascade range from mild swelling and itching to full-blown anaphylactic shock. Allergen avoidance and medications are used to prevent or treat allergies.
Insect Sting Allergies
The majority of stinging insects in the United States are from bees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. Severity of reactions to stings varies greatly. Avoidance and prompt treatment are essential. In selected cases, allergy injection therapy is highly effective.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Prevention Tips
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that spreads from person to person via infected respiratory droplets. The main symptoms of COVID-19 infection include cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Occasionally, people infected with COVID-19 may experience diarrhea, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, or aches and pains. Avoiding contact with infected people, social distancing, not touching your face, frequent hand washing, cleaning, and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces can help to reduce your risk of contracting the 2019 novel coronavirus.
Bug Bites and Stings
Bug bites and stings have been known to transmit insect-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease. Though most reactions to insect bites and stings are mild, some reactions may be life-threatening. Preventing bug bites and stings with insect repellant, wearing the proper protective attire, and not wearing heavily scented perfumes when in grassy, wooded, and brushy areas is key.
First aid is providing medical assistance to someone a sick or injured person. The type of first aid depends on their condition. Preparedness is key to first aid, like having basic medical emergency kits in your home, car, boat, or RV. Many minor injuries may require first aid, including cuts, puncture wounds, sprains, strains, and nosebleeds. Examples of more critical first aid emergencies include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and heatstroke.
Drug Allergy (Medication Allergy)
Drug or medication allergies are caused when the immune system mistakenly creates an immune response to a medication. Symptoms of a drug allergic reaction include hives, rash, itchy skin or eyes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, fainting, and anxiety. The most common drugs that people are allergic to include penicillins and penicillin type drugs, sulfa drugs, insulin, and iodine. Treatment may involve antihistamines or corticosteroids. An EpiPen may be used for life-threatening anaphylactic symptoms.
Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are fitness programs that fit any age or lifestyle.
Latex allergy is a condition where the body reacts to latex, a natural product derived from the rubber tree. The reaction can either be delayed and cause a skin rash or immediate, which can lead to anaphylaxis. Avoiding latex is the most effective way to prevent an allergic reaction.
Does COVID-19 Affect My Heart?
As per the American Heart Association, COVID-19 may have a long-term effect on the heart. Having a heart condition doesn't make a person more likely to catch COVID-19, but an individual with heart disease or a serious heart condition is more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19 and has a higher risk of death.
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Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Corticosteroids (Systemic, Oral, Injections, Types)
- prednisone (Prednisone Intensol, Rayos) Corticosteroid
- Antihistamine Shots (Injections)
- prednisolone liquid - oral, Orapred, Pediapred, Prelone
- diphenhydramine - injection, Benadryl
- diphenhydramine - oral, Benadryl, Genahist, Sominex, U
- cromolyn nebulizer solution - inhalation, Intal
- cromolyn aerosol - inhalation, Intal
- EpiPen (epinephrine auto-injector)
- epinephrine injection (Auvi-Q)
- Adrenaclick (epinephrine)
- Side Effects of Auvi-Q (auto-injectable epinephrine)
Prevention & Wellness
- Peanut Allergy Treatment Moves Toward FDA Approval
- 4 Ways to Protect Your Child From Allergic Reactions at School
- Caterpillar Invasion in London Puts People at Risk of Deadly Allergic Reactions
- It's a Food Allergy! Where's the School Nurse?
- The Best Way to Diagnose a Food Allergy
- Serious Reactions to Vaccines Rarely Recur: Review
- Arm Yourself Against Insect Sting Allergies
- Lifesaving Drugs From Pfizer in Short Supply: FDA
- Expired EpiPens May Still Help Save a Life: Study
- Health Tip: Create an Emergency Plan for Deadly Allergy Reaction
- Needed: An 'Action Plan' for Kids Prone to Severe Allergic Reactions
- Food Allergies Among Kids Vary by Race: Study
- Mylan to Offer Generic EpiPen
- The True Cost of EpiPen Coupons
- EpiPen Price Hikes: What to Know
- FDA OKs New Injectable Type 2 Diabetes Medication
- Poverty Linked to Asthma, Allergy Treatment Failure
- Unexpected Severe Allergic Reactions Strike Many Schools
- Vaccines Rarely Cause Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions: CDC
- Add Asthma, Allergy Plans to Your Back-to-School List
- Health Tip: Are You Allergic to Latex?
- Second Severe Allergic Reaction Isn't Uncommon
- Babies Who Eat Peanuts Early May Avoid Allergy
- Skin Patch Shows Promise in Easing Peanut Allergy
- Experts Urge Quick Use of Epinephrine for Severe Allergic Reactions
- 'Tis the Season of Challenges for Those With Food Allergies
- Schools With EpiPens Save Lives, Study Says
- Medicines Are Biggest Culprit in Fatal Allergic Reactions: Study
- More Schools Stocking Shots That Counter Serious Allergic Reactions
- Got Hay Fever? New Tablets vs. Allergy Shots
- Gradual Exposure to Peanuts May Help Some Allergic Kids
- Halloween Safety Tips for Kids With Food Allergies
- Egg Allergy No Obstacle to Child's Flu Shot, CDC Says
- New Choices for Seasonal Flu Vaccines
- Many Allergic to Fire Ant's Sting Don't Get Preventive Shots
- Allergy 'Rescue' Shots May Work Better in Lower Thigh of Overweight Kids
- People With Egg Allergy Can Safely Get Flu Shot: Experts
- Tap-Water Chemical May Be Linked to Food Allergy
- Study: Allergies Need to Be Taken Seriously
- Some Kids May Overcome or Outgrow Egg Allergy, Study Suggests
- Sugar 'n' Spice Not Always Nice
- Better Economic Status Tied to Peanut Allergy in Kids: Study
- Food Allergies Can Make Kids Targets for Bullies
- Son's Real-Life Drama Leads Comedy Queen to Medical Role
- Options Increasing for Coping With Kids' Food Allergies
- Expert Tips May Help Kids Avoid Allergens at School
- Foggers No Match for Bedbugs
- Summer's Heat May Enflame Hives
- Hospitalizations Up for Severe Skin Swelling
- More People Need Training in Lifesaving Epinephrine Use, Advocates Say
- Health Highlights: Jan. 24, 2012
- Pork-Cat Syndrome an Under-Recognized Allergy
- 'Food Challenges' Provide Best Allergy Diagnoses: Study
- Alcohol, Asthma and Allergies Don't Mix
- African-American Kids May Have More Food Allergies
- Report: Vaccines Generally Safe, Cause Few Health Problems
- Little Insects, Big Allergic Reactions
- FDA OKs Flu Shot With Smaller Needle
- Xolair May Treat Milk Allergy in Kids
- New Food Allergy Guidelines Out
- Health Tip: Know the Warning Signs of Anaphylaxis
- Kids With Food Allergies May Need 2 EpiPens