Everything you need to know about anaphylaxis


Everything you need to know about anaphylaxis

Stories like this one are unfortunately common but equally important to hear. A 16-year-old boy from Prescot died from an allergic reaction after eating a local takeaway pizza. Tragedies like these remind us all of how careful we need to be when it comes to allergies.

If the allergic reaction is bad enough, we can go into something called ‘anaphylactic shock’ (otherwise known as ‘anaphylaxis’). This is what most people who die from an allergy suffer from, and it can have a scarily high rate of death. If there’s one thing you need to know about allergies, it’s anaphylactic shock.

What is anaphylactic shock?

Anaphylaxis is a rare but serious reaction to an allergen. They are very common with food allergies but can come from reactions to other things, such as:

  • Insect stings
  • Medicine
  • Latex
  • General anaesthetic

Generally, the best way to prevent it is to stay away from your potential triggers. If you already have an allergy diagnosis, then good, but if you suspect you might suffer from an allergy, consider getting tested soon.

Here are some symptoms of an anaphylactic shock, so you can be prepared. If you ever feel these symptoms in yourself, find help quick:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Lightheadedness, a feeling you’re going to faint
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Clammy skin

Anaphylaxis is usually treated with an adrenaline auto-injector – like an epipen – and depending on how severe the reaction is, maybe multiple times. Because it can lead to death, it requires serious medical attention quickly.

What to do in the event of an emergency

If you are ever in the unfortunate position of dealing with an anaphylactic shock in someone you know, these are the steps you should take:

  1. If they have an epipen, use it. You will need to know how first though, so learn how to administer one. There will be plenty of guides online, such as this YouTube video.
  2. Lie the person flat. You shouldn’t do this though if the person is pregnant or struggling to breathe.
  3. Remove the allergen if you can find it. If it’s food, get it away from there or if it is an insect sting remove the stinger.
  4. Call 999 as soon as possible. Make sure to let them know it’s an anaphylactic shock.

If you can stay calm and carry out these steps, you might just be able to save someone’s life. It’s a horrible thing we hope you never have to experience, but we should always be prepared. Allergies are something we all need to take seriously.

At London Allergy & Immunology Centre, we know all too well about the devastating effects of allergies. But you don’t have to suffer. Get in touch with us to talk about your allergy worries on 02031 433 449.

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