Edward A. Mizrahi, MD
Patrick J. DeMarco, MD
Thomas A. Lupoli, DO
Trusted expertise in Allergy and Asthma care
for infants, children and adults
Anaphylaxis is a potentially deadly, multi-system hypersensitivity reaction to a particular allergen. The name comes from Greek words which mean "against protection". Anaphylaxis is sudden, severe, may affect the entire body and is to blame for nearly 1,500 deaths per year in the United States according to the National Center for Health Statistics. So, it is of the utmost importance that you be wary of possible exposure to allergens if you have a severe allergy. Food allergy anaphylaxis is among the most severe types. Common food allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. Drug allergies and allergies to certain insect bites or stings also can lead to anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis symptoms and signs can occur within minutes or even seconds of coming into contact with an allergen and can include:
- Hives or Itchiness
- Skin Redness or Rash
- Anxiety and Confusion
- Swelling of the Eyes or Face
- Difficulty Breathing
- Nasal Congestion
- Light-Headedness, Dizziness or Fainting
- Abdominal Pain or Cramping
- Abnormal Breathing Sounds or Wheezing
- Skin that Looks Blue (from Lack of Oxygen) or Pale (from Shock)
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Heart Palpitations or Arrhythmia
- Rapid Pulse
- Low Blood Pressure
- Slurred Speech
Anaphylaxis, also known as "anaphylactic shock" often can render a victim unconscious. Two anaphylactic reactions exist. "True anaphylaxis" is triggered by a known allergen, while "idiopathic anaphylaxis" has no known cause. Anaphylaxis involves the release of high quantities of chemicals such as histamine, prostaglandins and leukotrienes by mast cells located in various tissues. This release of chemicals causes blood vessels to leak, swells bronchial tissues and sends blood pressure plummeting.
Anaphylaxis treatment must be administered immediately and can involve resuscitation measures such as airway management, supplemental oxygen and large volumes of intravenous fluids. Emergency responders may administer epinephrine, antihistamines or steroids and victims typically remain in the hospital for six to 24 hours.
Anaphylaxis is an emergency condition, so make sure family and friends know to call 911 if you or someone you love is at risk. To help manage your anaphylaxis risk and identify the culprit triggers, contact Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida to schedule an appointment at one of our four convenient Jacksonville, FL area locations in Mandarin, on University Boulevard, on the Westside and in nearby Orange Park.