Anaphylaxis or Anaphylactic ShockSwelling of the throat and airways

The first and most immediate course of treatment for anaphylactic shock should be epinephrine. Photo © Intropin

The most severe and life threatening of allergic reactions is called anaphylactic shock, which is a swelling of the throat and airways, and can affect your heart rate and cause a dramatic drop in blood pressure.  This happens when an overproduction of chemicals puts your body into shock. The most common allergens that cause this type of reaction are foods, insect stings, medications and latex.

The initial reaction can happen almost immediately upon exposure, with a second reaction happening up to 12 hours later (a response called a biphasic reaction). The first and most immediate course of treatment should be epinephrine (adrenaline).  This is why many people with these types of allergies carry an Epi-Pen or similar device with them.  Even with the administration of the epinephrine, the person experiencing the anaphylaxis should receive immediate medical care. 

A whole host of symptoms can accompany anaphylaxis, including: nausea, vomiting, hives, tightness of the throat, difficulty breathing, fainting or dizziness and even a “feeling of doom.”

Please remember that even if you have only had a mild reaction to an allergen in the past, the next reaction could be much more severe. The symptoms described here should never be ignored or taken lightly.  The best prevention is early detection.  If you or a member of your family may be at risk of anaphylaxis, call Bluegrass Allergy Care today to schedule an examination.