What You Need to Know About Anaphylactic Shock

Woman scratching her neck

Woman scratching her neckIndividuals with allergies are all too familiar with itches, hives, and other annoying symptoms that come with allergic reactions, but for some of them, a simple allergic reaction could quickly intensify into a fatal situation known as anaphylaxis.

Warning signs that occur quickly impact more than one body part, and advance rapidly all indicate anaphylactic shock or reaction that requires medical attention as soon as possible.

What Exactly is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a rapidly occurring and dramatic condition that involves more than one organ systems. For instance, you might feel an allergic reaction affecting your skin, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory tract.

Signs of anaphylactic shock might at first seem mild, as if a typical rash or runny nose, says a renowned family medicine physician in Lehi. She adds that within several minutes, however, the warning signs could advance to more severe, life-threatening problems.

In general, two or more of these warning signs could indicate anaphylactic shock:

  • Hives
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Swollen lips, ears, throat, or tongue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fainting or dizziness

It might take a couple of minutes to several hours for anaphylaxis symptoms to appear, and some individuals have symptoms that disappear without intervention but then resurface two 48 to 72 hours later. They call this the biphasic reaction.

The danger with this is that in some instances, symptoms could have been missed or misdiagnosed as a common rash and then later turn into a full-blown anaphylactic shock.

Having asthma or allergies could increase your risk of experiencing anaphylaxis, and once you encounter one, your chances of suffering another one also increase.

An anaphylactic reaction is likewise immensely unpredictable; such that just because an episode was mild does not necessarily mean that the succeeding ones won’t be life threatening.

Crucial Things to Keep in Mind

The best strategy to avoid an anaphylactic reaction is to avoid exposure to triggers (allergens) and have an emergency plan. If you have an increased risk of experiencing anaphylaxis, you must carry with you an adrenaline or epinephrine autoinjector at all times.

It’s also very vital that you, your family, and those you regularly hang out with know about your allergies and what to do should your allergies get triggered.

The moment you feel you have anaphylactic shock, inject your epinephrine autoinjector and get help immediately so that you could get an immediate evaluation and proper treatment.