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Anaphylaxis

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by Shah PS

(Anaphylactic Reaction; Severe Allergic Reaction)

 

Causes

Substances that cause anaphylaxis are often called allergens or triggers. Common triggers include:
Allergic Reaction to Medication (Hives)
Hives Medication
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Some triggers, like dyes used in x-ray procedures, can cause a reaction similar to anaphylaxis.
 

Symptoms

The symptoms of anaphylaxis usually occur within minutes after exposure to an allergen, but can occur hours later. Symptoms may be mild or very severe, including death. They include:
  • Hives and itching
  • Warmth or redness of skin
  • Swelling, redness, stinging or burning, especially on the face, mouth, eyes, or hands
  • Lightheadedness, pale/blue skin color, low pulse, dizziness
  • Obstruction of the nose, mouth, and throat
  • Severe respiratory distress (such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing)
  • Nausea, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, or abdominal pain
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Convulsions
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shock
  • Feelings of anxiety
 

Treatment

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical treatment, including:
NOTE: If you receive emergency epinephrine, you should go to the emergency room right away, even if your symptoms have gone away.
If you are diagnosed with anaphylaxis, follow your doctor's instructions.
 

RESOURCES

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
http://www.aaaai.org

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network
http://www.foodallergy.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Allergy Asthma Information Association
http://aaia.ca

Calgary Allergy Network
http://www.calgaryallergy.ca

 

References


Anaphylaxis. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Oct 1;68(7):1339-1340. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20031001/1339ph.html. Accessed February 28, 2008.


Anaphylaxis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 7, 2012. Accessed November 2, 2012.


Kay AB. Allergy and allergic diseases–second of two parts. N Engl J Med. 2001;344:109-113.


Lieberman P, Kemp SF, et al. The diagnosis and management of anaphylaxis: An updated practice parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Mar;115(3 Suppl 2):S483-523.


Pumphrey R. Anaphylaxis: can we tell who is at risk of a fatal reaction?. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004; 4:285.


Sampson, HA, Munoz-Furlong, A, et al. Second symposium on the definition and management of anaphylaxis: summary report—Second National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network symposium. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006;117:391.


Simons E. Anaphylaxis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;125: S161-81.


Winbery SL, Lieberman PL. Anaphylaxis. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 1995;15:447.

 

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