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Articles > Anaphylaxis: What to watch for, what to do!

Anaphylaxis: What to watch for, what to do!

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For most people with allergies, medications and small lifestyle tweaks are enough to control their symptoms. But for some, allergies can have life-threatening consequences'a reaction called anaphylaxis. That's when several organs and systems wildly overreact to an allergen, causing severe respiratory and
cardiovascular distress.

Because the typical allergy symptoms'sneezing, hives, watery eyes and itching'are among the first signs, it's an especially stealthy threat. Other possible symptoms: swelling anywhere in the body (particularly the tongue, face or in the throat), shortness of breath, change of voice, wheezing, flushing, rash, fast heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

When anaphylaxis occurs, it must be quickly treated with epinephrine, a hormone that strengthens the heart, opens the airways, decreases swelling and helps relax the immune system.

NOTE: If you're at high risk for anaphylaxis, you should always have at least two epinephrine self-injection kits and an antihistamine with you.

Common Triggers
" Insect stings (bees, hornets, wasps,
yellow jackets)
" Foods (nuts, shellfish, milk, wheat, eggs, soy)
" Medications (penicillin and NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen)
" Latex

Anaphylaxis alert!
Call 911 and self-inject epinephrine if you experience a severe allergic reaction that'
" occurs seconds or minutes after exposure to an offending substance
" involves one or more bodily systems (e.g., nausea, constricted airways and dizziness)
" typically lasts less than 24 hours
" is accompanied by hives, itching,
and flushed or pale skin
IMPORTANT Seek emergency treatment even after an epinephrine injection, as the reaction may recur within 24 hours.
Allergy Diarrhea Abdominal Pain Balance Blackout Bronchospasm Diarrhea Difficulty Breathing Dizziness Dry Heaves Dyspnea Emesis Fainting Frequent Bowel Movements Heart Palpitations Itching Light Headed Loose Bowel Movements Loose Stool Loss Of Balance Nausea Pain Puking Rash Shortness of Breath Stomach Pain Stool, Loose Syncope Throwing Up Unsteadiness Vomiting Watery Eyes Watery Stool Wheezing Woozy Epinephrine Ibuprofen Aspirin Swelling

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