While most forms of allergy only cause misery, an extreme reaction to an allergen can possibly result in death. Those who suffer this type of allergy reaction, commonly referred to as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, must receive allergy treatment immediately. It is important to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis so you can offer the lifesaving treatment these people need.
Anaphylaxis can occur when a person is exposed to a substance they are allergic to. There reactions come on quickly and their symptoms are often life threatening. Perhaps the most common forms of allergic reaction that results in anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock are those from bee stings.
However, patients with food allergies who ingest a food they are allergic to can also suffer an anaphylactic reaction. It should be noted there is a difference between the terms anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis refers simply to a severe allergy reaction while anaphylactic shock is the most extreme form of anaphylaxis. This type of shock will result in death in just a few moments if help is not sought right away.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis include trouble breathing, low blood pressure, itching, and swelling of the mouth, face, neck and throat. The allergy sufferer may also become flushed, develop hives or even become unconscious. The most dangerous symptom is the swelling around the throat which can cause the airway to become restricted. Because of this swelling, rescue breathing - which is the part of CPR where one person helps the other person breathe - may not be successful.
If you or someone you know is prone to anaphylaxis be prepared in case you suffer a reaction. Be sure those around you know what to do in the case you have a reaction and aren't able to speak. For those who suffer these reactions regularly, you doctor may prescribe an anaphylaxis kit. These kits include a shot of epinephrine which can help save a person suffering from a severe reaction.
The epinephrine is a form of adrenaline that speeds up your heart beat and helps keep your airways from constricting. If your doctor prescribes a kit for you, keep it with you at all times. Also, check it regularly to make sure the shot is still in date as an out of date shot may not be potent enough to help your reaction.
If you suspect someone is suffering anaphylaxis and they don't have an epinephrine shot, there are some things you can do to help them. First, get them to a hospital or medical facility as soon as possible. If necessary, call an ambulance, they may be able to get to you more quickly than you can drive to the hospital.
While you are waiting for the ambulance, try giving the person an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). This will combat the histamines that are causing the reaction. Liquid diphenhydramine is best, but if all you have are capsules, break the capsules open and give the person the powder out of them directly. This way the medicine will immediately enter the person's bloodstream instead of having to wait for the capsule to dissolve.
Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock are both dangerous, possibly life threatening situations. Be familiar with the symptoms of this dangerous condition so that you can recognize if someone is suffering anaphylaxis and you can get this person the allergy treatment they need.
For more information on allergies try visiting http://www.theallergyeffect.com - a website that specializes in providing allergy related tips, advice and resources to including information on allergy treatment.