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What is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction and is potentially life-threatening. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, and requires immediate treatment.
In most allergic reactions the resulting chemicals are released locally into the tissues in a particular part of the body (skin, airways, eyes etc.) and therefore the symptoms of the allergic reaction usually only occur in these areas. In anaphylaxis, the chemicals that cause the allergic symptoms (histamine) are released generally in the bloodstream. This causes symptoms around the whole body, usually within minutes of exposure to the trigger substance (allergen) but sometimes hours later.
What causes Anaphylaxis?
The most common causes of anaphylactic reactions include:
- certain foods (often peanuts, tree nuts or shellfish)
- insect stings
- drugs and contrast agents (used in some x-ray tests), particularly those given by injection
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of anaphylaxis often occur with more mild symptoms of an allergic reaction. However, in some cases, mild symptoms such as an allergic rash may not be present, and the first symptoms seen are those of a severe reaction.
Most health professionals call an allergic reaction severe (or anaphylaxis) when it involves the lungs (respiratory system) or affects the heart rhythm or blood pressure. However, if someone develops abdominal symptoms (such as vomiting) after an insect sting, this is also classified as anaphylaxis (as the sting has caused release of chemicals which have travelled to the gut, which indicates a more widespread reaction).
How to give Epipen?
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Dr David will do allergy tetsing, offer advice on how to manage future reactions, prescribe adrenaline pens and give you allergy plans