Early symptoms of anaphylaxis
The early symptoms of anaphylaxis may appear as soon as a few minutes and even seconds of being exposed to an allergen (a substance that causes an allergic reaction). However, they may also occur 30 minutes or longer following exposure.
Anaphylactic shock symptoms include:
· Skin reactions.
- Flushed or pale skin
· A sensation of warmth.
· Feeling a lump in the throat.
· Airway constriction and swollen tongue.
- Difficulty breathing
· Weak and rapid pulse.
· Pain in the abdomen.
· Chest tightness or discomfort.
· Trouble swallowing.
· Nasal congestion.
· Slurred speech.
· Swelling of the face or eyes.
· Abnormally high-pitched breathing sounds.
Causes of anaphylaxis
· Tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews).
· Wheat (in children).
· Fish, shellfish.
Insect stings or bites
· Yellow jackets.
· Fire ants.
People who have allergies or asthma are at increased risk of encountering the early symptoms of anaphylaxis, as are those with a personal or family history. Having experienced anaphylactic shock in the past increases the risk of future, more severe reactions, which might be accompanied by such complications as:
· Airway blockage.
· Cardiac arrest.
· Respiratory arrest.
Time is of the essence when it comes to a severe allergic reaction, and so are proper and timely prevention and treatment.
Management of anaphylaxis
· Avoid known triggers (food, drugs).
· Check food labels for ingredients.
· Wear a medical bracelet indicating you have an allergy.
· Carry a medication kit with prescribed medication including chewable antihistamine and injectable epinephrine or a bee sting kit.
· Be careful around insects.
· Intravenous antihistamines.
In case of an emergency:
· Call 911.
· Calm and reassure the person.
· Put the person in a comfortable position with his or her legs elevated (do not put a pillow under the person's head if they are having difficulty breathing as this can block the airways).
· Check the ABC of basic life support (airway, breathing, circulation).
· If need be, give the person CPR.
· If the person has emergency medication – such as an epinephrine autoinjector – administer it to them (do not give them anything orally if they are having difficulty breathing).