Anaphylaxis
Thursday, March 19, 2009

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that occurs rapidly and may be deadly. Food allergy is believed to be the leading cause of anaphylaxis, causing an estimated 30,000 Emergency Department visits each year. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about anaphylaxis in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction. It starts soon after you are exposed to something to which you are allergic. You may have swelling, itching or a rash. Some people have trouble breathing, a tight feeling in their chest, dizziness and they feel anxious. Other people have stomach cramps, nausea or diarrhea. Some people lose consciousness.

The cause is different for each person and can be hard to find. Some common causes include foods, such as shellfish, nuts, peanuts, eggs and fruits; medicines; latex, or rubber; and insect stings.

Anaphylaxis is an emergency condition requiring immediate professional medical attention. Call 911 immediately. Anaphylaxis is a severe disorder that can be life threatening without prompt treatment. However, symptoms usually get better with the right therapy, so it is important to act right away.

To prevent future attacks, avoid known allergens. People who have a history of allergy to insect bites or stings should carry an emergency kit containing injectable epinephrine and chewable antihistamine. They should also wear a Medic-Alert bracelet or necklace stating their allergy.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.