Allergies and Anaphylaxis

     Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. It develops very quickly, which is one reason why it can be very dangerous. Symptoms typically include lightheadedness, shallow or rapid breathing, increased heart rate, confusion, anxiety, and potentially loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis is also known as anaphylactic shock and should be treated immediately. 

Common Triggers

     Anaphylactic shock is most commonly triggered by foods that people are typically allergic too such as shellfish, milk, nuts, eggs, fish, and some types of fruits. Other common causes include certain antibiotics and insect stings or bites. This is not an exhaustive list of causes and if you are allergic to any of the above items and aren’t sure if you have anaphylaxis you should consult your doctor. This will allow you to avoid any potential triggers and allow access to an adrenaline auto-injector in case of an attack. 

Treatment for Anaphylaxis

     Treatment for anaphylaxis begins with the use of an epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector if one is available. The adrenaline can relieve the symptoms immediately and facilitate enough time for the patient to seek out medical attention. The adrenaline does eventually wear off and therefore medical attention after going into anaphylactic shock is necessary. Once the patient has been injected with adrenaline and medical attention has been called, the next step is to remove the trigger if the anaphylaxis was caused by something other than food such as a bee sting or other type of bite. Then if the patient isn’t unconscious, they should lie down flat on their back. Wait for medical attention to arrive. 

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