What you should know about anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a type of allergic reaction. It may occur after coming into contact with something you are allergic too such as peanuts. The allergic reaction can happen very quickly and can be potentially life-threatening. Anaphylaxis can cause a person to go into shock, also known as anaphylactic shock. The immune system releases chemicals during anaphylaxis which can cause a person to go into shock. As a result, a person will experience a sudden drop in blood pressure and a narrowing of the airways, which inhibits regular breathing.

The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include a rapid, weak pulse, a skin rash, and nausea and vomiting. The most common triggers of anaphylaxis include certain foods, some medications, insect venom and latex. When a person develops anaphylaxis, they must seek immediate medical attention so they can be treated with an injection of epinephrine. If anaphylaxis is not treated promptly, it can lead to unconsciousness or even death.

Anaphylaxis symptoms usually occur within minutes of being exposed to what a person is allergic to. Other times, it may take a thirty minutes or longer after exposure to for symptoms to appear. The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include skin reactions (including hives along with itching, and flushed or pale skin), a feeling of warmth, the sensation of a lump in your throat, constriction of the airways and a swollen tongue or throat, which can cause wheezing and trouble breathing, a weak and rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, dizziness or fainting.

There are a number of allergens that may trigger anaphylaxis. It depends on what a person is allergic to. The most common anaphylaxis triggers include certain medications such as penicillin, certain foods (such as peanuts, tree nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, wheat, fish, shellfish, milk and eggs), or insect stings from bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets and fire ants. Less common causes of anaphylaxis include latex, medications used in anesthesia, and exercise.

There are not many known risk factors for anaphylaxis. However, there are some things that may increase your risk of developing anaphylaxis. This includes having a personal history of anaphylaxis, having allergies or asthma, or having a family history of anaphylaxis. If you have had anaphylaxis once, you have an increased risk of having it again. Future reactions may be worse than the first. People who allergies or asthma have an increased risk of having anaphylaxis. If you have a family history of anaphylaxis, you are at an increased risk of developing anaphylaxis.