For many people in Atlanta and around the country, food allergies will be a source of aggravation. However, for a selection of these individuals, without adequate precautions and a food allergy treatment, allergies could be life-threatening. Anaphylaxis is a very real threat to those with severe allergies, often appearing without warning. Here’s what you need to know about anaphylaxis.
What Is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis, as with other allergic reactions, is an immune system condition. The immune system produces antibodies to fight off infections and protect the body. However, it can also overreact to the presence of substances like food, medication, pollen and dust. Upon coming into contact with an allergen, the immune system produces antibodies which release chemicals. In the case of anaphylaxis, an individual experiences severe allergic symptoms and the body goes into shock.
What Are the Signs of Anaphylaxis?
Understanding what causes anaphylaxis is useful, but to provide the fast response required, it’s important to recognize the signs of an anaphylactic reaction.
- Runny nose
- Skin rash or hives
- Rapid heart rate
- Chest pains
- Coughing and wheezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the tongue, throat or lips
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
It is likely an individual will experience more than one of these symptoms, and a seemingly minor reaction can quickly become severe. Also, anaphylaxis could occur even if a person has shown no signs of a serious allergic condition in the past.
Is Anaphylaxis Common?
Anaphylaxis is rare, but anyone who has experienced even a minor allergic reaction should be aware of the dangers. For children, foods like milk, peanuts, soy, shellfish and wheat are common causes. Adults are also at risk from foods like peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish, with medication another potential trigger of a reaction. Unfortunately, for a small minority, anaphylaxis could even occur from insect bites, latex or pollen.
How Do You Treat Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is treated with epinephrine (adrenaline). An epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen®) is a fast and convenient method for providing adrenaline to an individual experiencing a severe reaction. Epinephrine is prescribed by a doctor who should discuss your history of allergies and run allergy tests to diagnose the condition.
Along with trying to avoid the allergen, you may be helped by oral immunotherapy treatment (OIT). OIT will desensitize the immune system to the allergen, reducing the chances of a severe allergic reaction.
What Steps Should You Take During an Anaphylactic Reaction?
- Use an epinephrine auto-injector
- Call emergency medical services immediately
- Seek urgent medical assistance even if you feel better
Avoid the Threat of Anaphylaxis by Treating Your Allergies
If you have experienced an allergic reaction in the past, you could be at risk for anaphylactic shock. Start treating your allergies with the help of Dr. Chacko. We have food allergy treatment centers located in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth and Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment online.
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