Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction, often involving more than one body system.
The factors that cause someone to have an anaphylactic reaction are called ‘allergens’ or ‘triggers’. Anaphylaxis can quickly become life threatening. It is therefore important to know your triggers so you can effectively avoid them.
An anaphylactic reaction usually occurs within 20 minutes of exposure to a trigger. It is characterised by rapid onset of airway, breathing and/or circulation problems usually associated with skin and mucosal changes.
A variety of factors can cause this extreme allergic reaction. The most common triggers are foods, medications and venom from insect bites and stings.
The following is a list of commonly known causes of anaphylactic shock:
Allergy testing can identify and confirm your triggers. Your doctor can then give you the best advice for managing your anaphylaxis.
If you&pos;ve experienced an anaphylactic reaction from a particular type of food, you should cut that food out of your diet entirely.
Some alcoholic beverages can contain traces of allergens, such as eggs, tree nuts and seafood. If you are unsure about a certain drink, call the manufacturer to determine whether it is safe for you to have.
The majority of allergic reactions to bites and stings are from ants, bees and wasps. If you are allergic to insect bites you should:
If you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting or tick bite, you should immediately and carefully remove the sting or tick. Immediately administer an adrenaline auto-injector shot and call Triple Zero (000) emergency.
Some medications contain substances that can cause life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. Over-the-counter, prescribed medications, and herbal medicines can all be triggers for anaphylaxis sufferers.
Avoid allergic reactions to medications by:
Anaphylaxis is a serious medical condition and the best way to avoid it is to follow an anaphylaxis management plan and to always carry an adrenaline auto-injector device, such as an Epipen or Anapen.
Your anaphylaxis management plan needs to be tailored to your particular allergens. This can be done with the help of an allergy specialist. This action plan will contain information about what to do in an anaphylactic emergency.
You should know your plan from memory but also carry it with you so other people can access it in an emergency.
If you are responding to a person showing symptoms and signs of anaphylaxis, follow these steps:
For more information read DRSABCD for life support.