Who would have thought that an allergic reaction can be serious and possibly lethal?
Anaphylaxis is a term given to an extreme form of allergic reaction. This condition usually occurs suddenly and without any sign of warning. Symptoms can rapidly worsen and can be lethal when left untreated.
Some people have more sensitivity to allergens and exhibit a reaction called allergy, which is when our body is exposed to certain allergens and our immune system reacts by fighting them off by producing histamines.
The most severe reaction caused by histamines is called anaphylaxis.
What are the anaphylaxis symptoms and signs?
Well, first off, people can be allergic to a not just foods, but certain materials too such as latex. However, it’s food-related allergies that are the most common cause of anaphylaxis. So it’s important that you are ready for any allergic reaction since you can’t make a prediction as to how your child, or anyone, will react to certain allergens.
Knowing the symptoms of anaphylaxis can save a child’s life. Memorize them.
Early symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- The swelling of tongue, lips and throat. Suffocation can occur as a result since air is blocked from breathing into the lungs.
- Hoarseness and wheezing
- Hives or a rash
Other symptoms are:
- Faintness due to the drop in blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Sense of impending doom
- Abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea
Advanced symptoms of anaphylaxis are:
- Collapse of respiratory function
- Stridor or a sound produced by attempting to breathe when your upper airways are obstructed.
- Loss of consciousness, agitation, confusion and anxiety
- Collapse in circulatory function and low blood pressure
What is the treatment for anaphylaxis?
First aid measures can be applied as follows:
- Administer an adrenaline (epinephrine) auto-injector – an EpiPen. It can either be injected by the patient himself or a bystander that has knowledge on how to use it.
- If the patient is not breathing and becomes unresponsive CPR should be performed. CPR will revive the patient by keeping the blood running until emergency medical services arrive.
Adrenaline is still the primary treatment, usually injected into the patient’s thigh area.
An ABC method is used to resuscitate the patient that is having an anaphylactic reaction.
A – Airway. Patient with swollen tongue has his airway blocked. If this occurs, he would have difficulty breathing. The patient is lied flat to open up the airway; sometimes a tube is inserted to open the airway.
B – Breathing. A patient is either provided with oxygen and a face mask or oxygen tube for breathing
C – Circulation. Intravenous (IV) access is given to the patient. This fluid helps maintain the circulation of blood around the body.
Specific treatment depends on the condition of the patient. Close monitoring will be performed whilst the patient is undergoing treatment. This involves heart monitoring, blood pressure monitoring, measurement of the blood’s oxygen level and electrocardiogram.
Patients with an anaphylactic reaction will be confined to the hospital for a minimum of 6-8 hours. In other cases where complications arise, monitoring and admission of the patient will be longer.
Prevention is always the best treatment. Make your kid stay away from allergens if you want to avoid anaphylaxis. Educate your child about his allergy and the most common allergens.