What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction – the extreme end of the allergic spectrum. The whole body is affected, usually within minutes of exposure to the allergen but sometimes after hours. Causes include food, insect stings and drugs.

What are the symptoms?

  • swelling of throat and mouth
  • difficulty in swallowing or speaking
  • alterations in heart rate
  • difficulty breathing – due to severe asthma or throat swelling
  • hives anywhere on the body, especially large hives
  • generalised flushing of the skin
  • abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting
  • sudden feeling of weakness (drop in blood pressure)
  • sense of impending doom
  • collapse and unconsciousness

Nobody would necessarily experience all of these symptoms. Some people find that the symptoms they experience are always mild. If there is marked difficulty in breathing or swallowing, and/or a sudden weakness or floppiness, regard these as serious symptoms requiring immediate treatment.

Why does anaphylactic shock occur?

Any allergic reaction, including the most extreme form, anaphylactic shock, occurs because the body’s immune system over-reacts in response to the presence of a foreign body, which it wrongly perceives as a threat.

What are the most common causes of anaphylactic shock?

Among the most common causes are: peanuts; nuts; sesame; fish; shellfish; dairy products; eggs; wasp or bee stings; natural latex (rubber); penicillin or any drug or injection. Severe allergic reactions to fresh fruit are also sometimes reported. In some individuals, exercise can trigger a reaction – either on its own, or in combination with other factors such as ingestion of a particular food.

Information Courtesy of:
The Anaphylaxis Campaign

For Further information visit the website:
The Anaphylaxis Campaign

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