Anaphylaxis is defined as a hypersensitivity to something after the body has been sensitized to it, thereby causing an immune-system reaction upon exposure. Anaphylactic shock is a severe, sometimes life-threatening reaction to the problematic allergen, and it can close off a person’s airway in minutes or even seconds.
The chemicals that are released by the body during an anaphylactic allergic reaction cause a dangerous drop in the patient’s blood pressure. It also causes the airways to narrow and possibly be blocked completely.
Obviously, this can lead to a quick death if the person’s body has a severe reaction. Let’s talk about some of the most common allergens that cause anaphylaxis and how best to treat it.
Allergens that Can Cause Anaphylaxis
Anaphylactic shock often comes as a surprise. A person often does not know that they or their child has a severe allergy to a food or chemical until or unless they are exposed to the allergen.
For example, an allergic reaction can occur suddenly when an adult or child is eating a candy bar with peanuts in it, taking a penicillin medication, or touching rubber (latex) – or even touching something that has been touched recently with latex. A physician can test you for any allergens to which your body is allergic.
In children, the most common causes of anaphylaxis are food allergies, such as to:
In adults, in addition to the foods listed on the children’s list, the most common causes for anaphylaxis are:
Signs of Anaphylactic Shock
There are multiple signs of anaphylaxis, and the problem is that the shock reaction happens quickly. Someone with this type of allergy may experience:
● Swelling of the face and hands
● Itchy skin
● Flushed or pale skin
● Falling blood pressure
● Quickening pulse
● Airway constriction
Seek Emergency Medical Attention
If you or someone you know suddenly goes into anaphylactic shock, check for or use your EpiPen (epinephrine autoinjector) by pressing it into the middle-outer thigh – even through clothes if necessary. Anyone who knows that they have an allergy that can cause anaphylaxis would be smart to get and carry an EpiPen for emergencies.
It could mean the difference between life and death, because even the most careful person is sometimes exposed to an allergen without realizing it.
After administering the EpiPen, call 911 or go to the hospital right away. Even if the allergic reaction has been mild after prior exposures, the reactions tend to become more severe with further exposures.
Allergy Doctors in Weatherford, Texas
If you have an allergy or are suspicious that you or your child might have an allergy, contact our medical team today at the Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas for testing and treatment.
You can call our experienced medical team at (817) 594-9993 to schedule your consult to determine any possible allergies you may have.