Anaphylaxis Doctors Questions and Answers
If you have any questions regarding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of allergic reactions, and specifically anaphylaxis, contact us at Piniella Asthma + Allergy today! Call us for more information or schedule an appointment online! We have convenient locations to serve you in Coral Gables, FL and Palmetto Bay, FL.
Although many people in the US, and worldwide, live with allergies every day, there is a small percentage of those sufferers whose allergic reaction could turn into a life-threatening emergency. This is called anaphylaxis. A 2014 study carried out by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found that almost 1 in 50 Americans could potentially have an anaphylactic reaction. More startling was the discovery that many of those who took part in the study were not prepared if they suffered an attack, by either not being in possession of an epinephrine auto-injector, or not having been prescribed one. Since anaphylaxis is a life-threatening event and can happen without warning, anywhere and at any time, it is essential for all allergy sufferers to be prepared for such an emergency.
What Is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe, sudden and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that typically occurs in one area of the body but, in those who are susceptible to a more severe reaction, two or more organs such as the airways, skin, lungs, stomach or heart, can be involved. Anaphylaxis is most commonly triggered by allergies to certain foods, medications, insect bites/stings and latex, and the reactions can be deadly. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention and an injection of epinephrine should be administered promptly, followed by a visit to the emergency room.
What are the Basic Signs of Anaphylaxis?
Symptoms of anaphylaxis typically present themselves within 5 to 30 minutes of exposure to a particular allergen, and in some cases it may take more than an hour. Some of the warning signs include:
- Red, itchy, rash with hives or welts
- Swollen throat or other swollen areas of the body
- Losing consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Tightness in the chest
- Low blood pressure and pulse
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
- Hoarse voice
- Stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting
What Causes Anaphylaxis?
Due to the fact that anaphylaxis is essentially a severe allergic reaction, the causes are the same as those of any other reaction – that is, exposure to a perceived threat from certain allergens to which the body overreacts.
Common causes of anaphylaxis include:
- tree nuts
- insect stings
A less common cause of anaphylaxis is aerobic exercise. Sometimes eating certain foods before exercising or exercising in humid, hot or cold weather have been linked to anaphylaxis in some people, so it would be a good idea to talk with your doctor about precautions you may need to take if you think you may be at risk.
How Is Anaphylaxis Diagnosed?
You will very likely be diagnosed with anaphylaxis if the basic signs listed above are present.
The doctor might ask questions to determine whether you have had allergic reactions before to certain foods or medications, latex or insect bites and stings. To help confirm the diagnosis the doctor may request a blood test to measure the amount of a certain enzyme called tryptase which can show elevated levels for up to three hours following an attack. If the cause for the anaphylaxis is not certain you may have a skin prick test to help determine the trigger. Your provider might also want to rule out other conditions, as many have similar signs and symptoms to those of anaphylaxis.
We have locations in Coral Gables FL and Palmetto Bay, FL to better serve you and we offer a broad range of services tailored to meet your asthma and allergy needs. Schedule your no-obligation consultation today! We serve patients from Coral Gables FL, Palmetto Bay FL, Westchester FL, Brownsville FL, Kendall FL, Pinecrest FL, Richmond West FL, and Goulds FL.