Anaphylaxis, often referred to as anaphylactic shock, is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. When anaphylaxis occurs, the body’s immune system responds to an allergen and affects multiple parts of the body. This reaction can cause changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and airway. About 5% of Americans have experienced an anaphylactic reaction to common allergens such as peanuts, shellfish, dairy products, latex, insect stings, and penicillin.
Typically, a patient will experience at least 2 symptoms during a reaction. Common symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Skin flushing or paleness, or skin rash, including hives
- Swelling in your mouth, throat, or elsewhere in your body
- Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, or difficulty breathing
- Stomach cramps, diarrhea, or vomiting
- Passing out
- A feeling of impending doom
If you or someone near you is experiencing these symptoms, call 911. If an epinephrine injector pen is available, use as directed. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening, so immediate medical attention is needed.
Our experienced providers and medical staff at Columbia Allergy are trained to provide individualized allergy testing and treatment to help reduce the risks of this condition. The treatment for anaphylaxis will depend on what allergen caused the reaction. Every patient with anaphylaxis will be prescribed and properly educated on how to use an epinephrine auto-injector, should a reaction occur. If you are suffering from an anaphylactic allergy, call your nearest location or schedule an appointment online today!