Anaphylaxis is defined as a group of symptoms exhibited by the body in reaction to a particular substance. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening reaction and therefore must be promptly spotted and treated.
The two crucial signs of an anaphylactic reaction are as follows:
- The tightness of the throat
- Swelling over the body
What are the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis?
Severe symptoms, which may occur within 30 minutes, include:
- Skin reactions include:
- Respiratory problems due to the constriction of the airways, which include:
- Fainting, dizziness, or confusion
The common signs of anaphylaxis found in other areas of the human body are:
- Lower airway:
- Tingling or swelling of the lips, tongue, or palate
- Sense of impending doom
Types of anaphylactic reactions
Anaphylactic reactions may be divided into three types:
- Uniphasic reactions: These reactions have symptoms that get rapidly worse, but the symptoms go away entirely once treated.
- Biphasic reactions: Symptoms may be mild or severe in the beginning and then disappear before symptoms increasingly get worse. These reactions may follow hours after the initial anaphylactic reaction.
- Protracted anaphylaxis: Symptoms may persist for days.
Death may occur within minutes but rarely has been reported to occur days to weeks after the initial anaphylactic episode.
What is anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.
The most common and less common causes of anaphylaxis are listed below:
- Foods: most commonly peanuts, tree nuts, egg, fish, shellfish, cow’s milk, and wheat
- Medications: most commonly antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Allergen immunotherapy
- Insect stings (bees and wasps)
- Unidentified (no cause found; idiopathic anaphylaxis)
How to approach if you suspect anaphylaxis?
If you suspect anaphylaxis, you should get an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot without any delay. Arrange someone to call 911 for emergency medical help. If left untreated, it can prove to be fatal.
Anaphylaxis management also involves avoiding the trigger factor to prevent relapse. It is always better to prevent anaphylaxis rather than treating it. There are some general avoidance measures listed below:
Apart from avoiding triggers, you may also want to keep yourself safe by following these preventive measures:
- Carry an epinephrine auto-injector
- Wear an identification card or jewelry noting condition and offending allergens
- Seek the help of an allergist
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