Recognizing Anaphylaxis

If you believe you, or someone you know, is experiencing Anaphylaxis then please administer epinephrine and call 911 immediately.

Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction that often begins within minutes after a person eats a problem food. Less commonly, symptoms may begin hours later.

Anaphylaxis is usually associated with two body systems being involved.  Look for itchy skin/hives, nasal symptoms like sneezing or excessive mucous, mouth swelling or GI symptoms like cramping, pain, vomiting or diarrhea AND difficulty breathing or a reduced blood pressure.  Signs of a reduced blood pressure are weak pulse, confusion, loss of consciousness or fainting.

If a person has an exposure to a known allergen and experiences these allergic reaction symptoms then consider Anaphylaxis, treat them with injectable epinephrine and contact 911.

The Scary Side of Anaphylaxis Symptoms

In some cases anaphylaxis may subside and then return.  Dr. Soteres has had some personal experience with this:  “My uncle was working in the garden and stung by a bee.  Within seconds he knew something was wrong.  He got help from his wife and went to the ER.  He had hives all over his body and his chest felt tight.  At the ER he was given epinephrine which slowed the reaction down.  He required IV fluids, steroids and antihistamines.  He was observed for 4-6 hours and went home.  The allergic reaction resumed with hives and chest tightness.  He went back to the ER for more therapy and they admitted him overnight.”  This is called Biphasic Anaphylaxis and about 30% of patients with anaphylaxis can experience something like this.

Severe symptoms of allergic reaction, alone or in combination with milder symptoms, may be signs of anaphylaxis and require immediate treatment.

If you or a loved one would like to speak to a professional anaphylaxis doctor, give our doctors here at Asthma & Allergy Associates Food Allergy Center in Colorado Springs a call today about allergic reactions to food!

Daniel Soteres M.D., MPH