What Is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. Things that can cause allergic reactions are called allergens.
Anaphylaxis (an-eh-fil-AK-siss) most often happens during allergic reactions to:
Anaphylaxis can be scary. But being prepared will help you treat a reaction quickly.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Anaphylaxis?
Allergic reactions can cause:
- trouble breathing
- throat tightness or feeling like the throat or airways are closing
- hoarseness or trouble speaking
- nasal stuffiness or coughing
- nausea, belly pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
- trouble swallowing
- fast heartbeat or pulse
- skin itching, tingling, redness, or swelling
- a feeling like something bad is about to happen
- pale skin
- passing out
Anaphylaxis can cause different symptoms at different times. It's considered anaphylaxis if someone has:
- any severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, repeated vomiting, passing out, or throat tightness
- two or more mild symptoms, such as hives and vomiting or coughing and belly pain
The person needs treatment right away.
How Is Anaphylaxis Treated?
Someone with anaphylaxis needs help right away. The reaction can get worse very quickly. So doctors usually want people with allergies to carry injectable medicine called epinephrine. Epinephrine enters the bloodstream and works quickly against serious allergy symptoms.
Doctors prescribe epinephrine auto injectors. These should always be with the child with allergies, including at school, sports, jobs, and other activities. The auto injector is small and easy to use.
If the doctor prescribes epinephrine for your child, the doctor will show you how to use it. Two auto injectors should always be with your child in case one injector does not work or your child needs a second dose.
Your doctor also might instruct you to give your child antihistamines in certain cases. But always treat a serious reaction with epinephrine. Never use antihistamines instead of epinephrine in serious reactions.
What Should I Do If My Child Has a Serious Reaction?
Seconds count during anaphylaxis. If your child shows signs of a serious allergic reaction:
Serious allergies can be alarming. But you can help keep your child safe. Be sure to:
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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