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ANAPHYLAXIS - Is It Simple Allergy Or More ?

What is anaphylaxis ?

Anaphylaxis is the term used to describe a serious allergic reaction. It can happen very quicklyand can cause death.Anaphylaxis can happen after a person:• Eats a food he or she is allergic to• Takes a medicine he or she is allergic to• Is stung by an insect he or she is allergic to• Touches something made out of latex if he or she is allergic to latexOther triggers can also cause anaphylaxis.

You might know if you are allergic to something.But you can also have anaphylaxis even if you don't know you have an allergy.What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?Anaphylaxis can involve one or more parts of the body.

The most common symptoms are:• Hives – Raised, red patches of skin that are very itchy• Angioedema – A condition that causes puffiness, usually of the face, eyelids, ears,mouth, hands, or feet• Redness or itching of the skin (without hives)• Swelling or itching of the eyes• Runny nose or swelling of the tongue• Trouble breathing, wheezing, or a change in your voice• Vomiting or having diarrhea• Feeling dizzy or passing out.

With anaphylaxis, you can get very sick, very quickly. Your symptoms can also change.You might first get hives on your skin. Soon after that, you might have vomiting, troublebreathing. Each time you have anaphylaxis, you can have different symptoms of varyingseverity. Symptoms also differ from person to person.The symptoms you have with anaphylaxis can be worse if you:• Have asthma• Have other health problems such as lung or heart disease.

How is anaphylaxis treated?There are treatments that can help reduce anaphylaxis symptoms quickly. The besttreatment is a medicine called "epinephrine." Epinephrine comes in a shot. Ambulance crewsand doctors can give it. People who have had anaphylaxis before often get a prescription fora device called an "autoinjector”. This device has a shot of epinephrine that you can giveyourself. If you have an autoinjector, you should keep it with you at all times. Use it right awayany time you think you are having anaphylaxis. After you use the autoinjector, call for anambulance (108). That's because the symptoms might come back and you might need moretreatment in the hospital.

A doctor or nurse will also watch you to make sure your symptomsdo not come back.Is there anything you can do to prevent anaphylaxis again?Yes. If you have had anaphylaxis, you should talk with your doctor or nurse. If needed,your doctor can do tests to find out what you are allergic to. Your doctor can help you make aplan to prevent future anaphylaxis.As part of your plan, you can:

• Learn about the symptoms of anaphylaxis so you will know when to get help

• Have an epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times

• Avoid foods, medicines, or insects you are allergic to

• Wear a medical bracelet to let others know about your allergy.

Many people who have had anaphylaxis are able to live normal lives. But you might needto make some changes in your life.You will need to avoid the things that can cause you tohave anaphylaxis. You might need to carry medicine with you in case you have an allergicreaction.


Dr. Ashwini Kumar Sahu, MBBS, MD, DM

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