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By Shannon Pierce
Anaphylaxis is a very severe, very life-threatening type of allergic reaction. The body responds to an otherwise harmless substance in the environment, such as a bee sting, with an allergic reaction that can kill. The reaction can take place in minutes or seconds and rapidly progresses. As the chemicals released by the immune system flow through your body, your airways constrict, your skin may swell or become red, and your blood pressure plummets, all causing your body to go into anaphylactic shock.
As mentioned, symptoms can show up seconds or moments after exposure, but in some cases they can occur a half-hour or later. Symptoms include, dizziness, fainting, hives, itching, pale skin, flushed skin, swollen tongue, wheezing, trouble breathing, weak, rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Many patients report feeling an overwhelming sense of doom right before experiencing anaphylaxis.
All of our immune systems are different. Some people can fight off various substances, allergens, or germs, while other immune systems overreact, causing an allergic reaction. Triggers of anaphylaxis include, penicillin or other medications, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, wheat, milk, shellfish, insect stings, latex, exercise, anesthetics, naproxen.
To be diagnosed, your doctor may run some skin and blood tests, or have you keep a food log over a period of time. They will ask you various questions about your experiences with various foods, medications, or insect stings. Your health provider may rule out any other issues that could be a part of your symptoms such as seizures, psychological issues, or heart problems.
Treatments and drugs
It is essential to call 911 or use an autoinjector as soon as someone experiences anaphylaxis. Do not take medicine and wait until symptoms improve. Autoinjectors should always be carried by those at risk of anaphylaxis. The autoinjector is a single dose of medicine that is immediately injected into the patient’s thigh when they experience symptoms of an anaphylactic emergency. Autoinjectors can be injected by the patient or by those nearby in emergency situations. It is crucial for family, friends, co-workers, and those around the person at risk to know how to use it. The autoinjector action plan should be posted at work, school, or at home so peers can provide immediate and effective treatment. CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be performed if a patient stops breathing or if their heart stops beating. Other medications commonly include: Epinephrine, oxygen, intravenous antihistamines, cortisone, and beta-agonists.
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