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Anaphylaxis Causes

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that affects the entire body. This disease can occur in response to any kind of allergen, such as horse serum, drug allergies, insect stings or bites and food allergies. Pollens and other inhaled allergens cause Anaphylaxis, but this occurs rarely. Some people have anaphylactic reaction without identifiable cause.

Anaphylaxis Definition

Anaphylaxis, from the Greek words “ava ana” (against) and “phylaxis” (protection), is a severe type I hypersensitivity and acute systemic allergic reaction in mammals, including humans. This condition occurs when an animal or person is exposed to an allergen that has already become sensitized. Large amounts of this allergen may cause a life-threatening reaction. Anaphylaxis occurs after injection, ingestion and inhalation of an allergen. In the United States, 1% to 17% of the population is estimated at risk for experiencing an anaphylactic reaction if exposed in various allergens, especially insect stings and penicillin. Of those who suffer from Anaphylaxis, 1% die as a result, accounting to 1,000 deaths per year in the United States.

Anaphylaxis Symptoms and Signs

Anaphylaxis symptoms include respiratory distress, low blood pressure, polyuria, fainting, encephalitis, unconsciousness, flushed appearance, hives, swelling of the face, neck, lips and throat (known as angioedema), tears due to stress and angioedema, itching, anxiety, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The time between allergen ingestion and Anaphylaxis symptoms occur vary depending on the amount of allergen consumed and individual reaction time. Symptoms of Anaphylaxis may appear instantly upon ingestion or may be delayed by several hours.

Anaphylaxis Treatment

When Anaphylaxis occurs, first aid measures, such as rescue breathing is needed because airways may be constricted. Administration of adrenaline or epinephrine can also help prevent the progression of airway constriction. Patients with history of Anaphylaxis may carry preloaded syringes that contain diphenhydramine (benadryl), epinephrine or dexamethasone (decadron).

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