Anaphylaxis-Anaphylactic Shock symptoms treatment

Anaphylactic Shock: Why It is a Potentially Life-threatening Reaction


Anaphylaxis or Anaphylactic shock is a severe life-threatening allergic reaction with symptoms itchy rash, throat or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure. Anaphylactic shock needs immediate treatment. Read now about Anaphylactic shock.

Introduction All About to anaphylactic shock

Many people suffer from several allergies when they are exposed to something they are allergic to like foods they eat and things they touch. Sometimes, they may also experience a potentially life-threatening and severe reaction can be anaphylactic shock which needs to be treated right away.

Anaphylaxis-Anaphylactic Shock symptoms treatment

Anaphylaxis-Anaphylactic Shock pictures (image credit: meconferences)

What is Anaphylactic Shock?

Anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic condition caused by an overreaction of the immune system to an allergen you are nearer to or something your body is allergic to. When a person goes into anaphylactic shock, their immune system releases chemicals that flood the body.

As a result, His/her blood pressure suddenly drops and airways get narrow, possibly blocking normal breathing which causes the person to go into shock and this process is called anaphylaxis.

The terms “anaphylaxis” and “anaphylactic shock” are often used to mean the same thing and they both refer to a severe allergic reaction. It can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure and a second anaphylactic reaction, known as a biphasic reaction, can occur within 12 hours after the initial reaction.

It can affect many organs:

  • Skin – itching, hives, redness, swelling
  • Nose – sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose
  • Mouth – itching, swelling of the lips or tongue
  • Throat – itching, tightness, trouble swallowing, swelling of the back of the throat
  • Chest – shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest pain or tightness
  • Heart – weak pulse, passing out, shock
  • Gastrointestinal tract – vomiting, diarrhea, cramps
  • Nervous system – dizziness or fainting

How long will it take to recover from anaphylactic shock?

Anaphylactic shock is a rare but severe and sudden allergic reaction occurs within minutes of exposure to an allergen. At that time, the patient may experience a rapid, weak pulse, a skin rash and nausea, and vomiting.

If this condition is not treated right away, anaphylactic shock can turn deadly within in a very short time. Read here to know more about of Allergies. Must read about what are the difference between allergic reaction and anaphylaxis.

How do you spell anaphylactic?

ana· phy· lac· tic

Know the Difference between anaphylaxis VS anaphylactic shock

Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction. Food allergy is considered to be a common cause of anaphylaxis through several other allergens exists such as insect stings, medications, or latex – are other potential triggers.

Anaphylactic shock is referred to an anaphylaxis episode where a person goes into a state of shock because of poor blood circulation that deprives the body of oxygen and nutrients.

It is important to be aware of all of the potential symptoms of anaphylaxis because shock does not happen to be the cause in most cases of anaphylaxis, so. FARE’s Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan outlines the recommended treatment in case of an allergic reaction.

Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis and should be administered promptly during an anaphylactic reaction, whether or not a shock is present.

Anaphylaxis VS Allergy

Allergy inadequately increased reaction to a certain environmental antigen (allergen), tolerated by the majority of the population usually localized

Anaphylaxis generalized, life-threatening allergic reaction simultaneously affecting multiple organ systems

Difference between allergic reaction and anaphylaxis

Allergy is a localized immune response with very localized symptoms. It can usually be treated with antihistamines.

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening emergency involving systemic response that includes relative hypovolemia due to profound vasodilation and capillary leaking, airway edema, Angioedema, generized edema, gastrointestinal disturbances, may also include bronchospasm, hives, anxiety,

4 stages of anaphylaxis

Symptoms and Signs of anaphylactic shock

Find here now what the symptoms of anaphylaxis are.

Symptoms of anaphylactic shock

If you develop Anaphylactic shock, you typically notice the symptoms within 15 minutes of coming into contact with the thing you’re allergic to. Symptoms may start out mild like an uneasy feeling or a runny nose but they can get much worse within no time.

Therefore, these symptoms shouldn’t be ignored and there is a great need to be Aware of the Symptoms of Anaphylactic shock. Some typical anaphylactic shock symptoms include:

  • Skin reactions(hives, flushed skin or paleness)
  • Suddenly feeling too warm
  • Feeling like having a lump in your throat or difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • A weak and rapid pulse
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Swollen of the throat (tongue or lips)
  • Tight feeling in your throat and wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Uneasiness or a sense that something is wrong with your body
  • Tingling hands, feet, mouth, or scalp
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Hoarseness or trouble speaking
  • Confusion
  • Sudden feeling of weakness
  • Watery eyes

According to some studies, 1 out of every 5 people may have a second anaphylactic reaction within 12 hours of the first. This condition is called biphasic anaphylaxis. If you think you are experiencing the above symptoms of Anaphylactic shock, seek immediate medical attention. Do you know what are the symptoms of anaphylaxis, if NOT, then you can find here now!

Signs of anaphylaxis

  • Unable to speak more than one or two words
  • Sitting straight up or with hands on knees
  • Gasping for breath
  • Pursing lips to breathe
  • Using neck muscles to take breaths

Can anaphylaxis be mild?

An allergic reaction ranges from mild to severe whereas anaphylaxis is a severe and extreme type of allergic reaction, with symptoms including:

  • swelling of the mouth, throat, face, and hands
  • itchy skin
  • abdominal pain and nausea
  • difficulty breathing
  • feeling faint
  • unconsciousness

Mild symptoms may include watery eyes, sneezing, flushed skin, and nettle rash.

Anaphylaxis can be confused with:

  • Asthma
  • Choking
  • Panic attack & Anxiety
  • Fainting
  • Heart attack
  • Seizure, Stroke
  • Scromboidosis

Factors that Can Influence Severity

  • Dose of allergen
  • Other illness ie fever, asthma exacerbation
  • Medications
  • Beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, ibuprofen
  • Exercise
  • Alcohol
  • Hormones

How common is anaphylaxis in children?

Severe reactions in babies and children are rare but symptoms such as nettle rash (hives) or tingling mouth or lips, are far more likely. Allergies are unpredictable and some children who have only ever reacted mildly may also have symptoms such as breathing difficulties.

Your child will be at higher risk of anaphylaxis if she/he has or had a serious reaction such as asthma before.

Anaphylaxis is very rare among the babies under 6 months because they haven’t been exposed to many allergens, especially food allergens. It takes more than one exposure to an allergen for a reaction to occur whereas in toddler it can take years to develop. However, anaphylaxis has been reported in 1-month babies and in children with no known previous exposure to the allergen.

What Causes Anaphylactic shock?

You are reading now what causes anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylactic shock causes

There is no single cause for the development of this allergy that has taken place over the past few decades. There is the number of possible reasons for this and many are still under debate but here are some factors that have been considered influential. Anaphylactic shock causes are here,

  • Heredity: Heredity can be one of the reasons for causing Anaphylactic shock.
  • Eating habits: Your eating habits can be a reason for the development of Anaphylactic shock. Some of the foods that trigger Anaphylactic shock such as:
    • tree nuts
    • shellfish
    • milk
    • eggs
    • agents used in immunotherapy
    • latex
  • Early exposure to allergens: The most possible way to get Anaphylactic shock is exposing to the things that cause allergies.
  • Modern medicines: Modern medicines like antibiotics may be one of the reasons for developing Anaphylactic shock.
  • Other causes: Vitamin D deficiency and other dietary factors are some of the other reasons to get Anaphylactic shock.

In some rare cases, exercise and aerobic activities like running can trigger Anaphylactic shock. Sometimes, the cause for this reaction is never recognized and this type of Anaphylactic shock is called idiopathic. If you don’t know what’s exactly triggering your allergy attacks, your doctor may order an allergy test to look for what’s causing them.

Why do humans go into anaphylactic shock?

Humans go in anaphylactic shock as their immune system is very sensitive to stimulants such as a bee sting or allergens. These stimulants cause mast cells to release histamine that dilates blood vessels and stimulates other mast cells causing the reaction to be amplified. It allows the immune system to react to the allergen. However, in anaphylactic shock, the whole body reacts causing most blood vessels to dilate meaning a drastic blood pressure drop.

In simplicity, anaphylactic shock is just an overreaction to an allergen because of their sensitive immune system.

Risk factors for anaphylactic shock

Is anaphylaxis life threatening?

Can anaphylaxis happen days later?

There aren’t many known risk factors for Anaphylactic shock, but some things that might increase your risk include:

  • Previous Anaphylactic shock: If you have had Anaphylactic shock once, then you will have a greater risk of having this serious reaction in future and these reactions might be more severe than the first reaction.
  • Allergies or asthma: People who have either condition are at higher risk of having Anaphylactic shock.
  • A family history of Anaphylactic shock: People can likely develop Anaphylactic shock if they have a family history of Anaphylactic shock.
  • Certain other conditions: These conditions include heart disease and an abnormal accumulation of a certain type of white blood cell (mastocytosis).

Complications of anaphylactic shock

Anaphylactic shock is an extremely serious condition even death. It can block your airways and prevent you from breathing and can stop your heart. This is because of decrease in blood pressure that prevents the heart from receiving enough oxygen. This can contribute to potential complications such as:

  • Drain damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Cardiogenic shock, a condition that causes your heart to not pump enough blood to your body
  • Arrhythmias, a heartbeat that is either too fast or too slow
  • Heart attacks
  • Death

In some cases, you will experience a worsening of pre-existing medical conditions. This is especially true for conditions of the respiratory system. For instance, if you have COPD, you may experience a lack of oxygen that can quickly do irreversible damage to the lungs.

Anaphylactic shock can also worsen the symptoms permanently in people with multiple sclerosis. So get the treatment for the anaphylactic shock as soon as possible and the fewer complications you’re likely to experience.

Dos and Don’ts of anaphylactic shock

In order to reduce the risk of developing anaphylactic shock, you need to follow some dos and don’ts that are mentioned below.

  • Don’t try to take any type of oral medication if you’re having difficulty breathing.
  • Make sure that someone stays with the person for 24 hours after Anaphylactic shock in case of another attack.
  • Read the labels on the food products that you eat.
  • Stay away from the things that cause allergies to you.
  • Don’t skip using prescribed medicines this will help you reduce the symptoms.

Self-care for anaphylactic shock

Even if you’re careful, at some point you will likely be exposed to what you’re allergic to. So it is important for you to respond quickly and effectively to an allergy emergency by knowing the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and have a plan to quickly treat those symptoms. The other ways to Anaphylactic shock Management are to avoid substances include

  • Wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet: It is used to indicate you have an allergy to specific drugs or other substances.
  • Carry prescribed medications: Keep an emergency kit with you always because these should be always available with you. Your doctor can advise you on the contents you should take.
  • Talk to your doctor about your allergies: Be sure to alert all your doctors to medication reactions you’ve had.
  • Dressing: Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants if you’re allergic to stinging insects, and use caution around them. Other safety measures include
    • Don’t walk barefoot on grass
    • avoid bright colors
    • don’t wear perfumes
    • colognes or scented lotions
    • Don’t drink from open soda cans outdoors.
    • Stay calm when near a stinging insect.
    • Move away slowly and avoid slapping at the insect.
  • Carefully read the labels of all the foods: If you have food allergies, you should carefully read the names of the foods you buy and eat. It’s important to periodically recheck the labels of foods you commonly eat because the manufacturing processes can change.
  • While eating in restaurants, ask them how each dish is prepared, and find out what ingredients it contains. Even small amounts of food can cause a serious reaction if you’re allergic to it.

Prevention for anaphylactic shock

  • Ask your doctor how to avoid your allergens and what to do if you have an allergic reaction, especially a severe reaction.
  • Tell your health care providers, including your dentist, about your allergies before you take any new medication, especially injections.
  • Stay in your doctor’s office the full amount of time he recommends after you get any injection.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant that lets others know about your allergies.
  • If you’re allergic to insect stings, wear protective clothing when you go outside.
  • Avoid shiny fabrics or jewelry, which can attract insects.
  • Put a lid over sugary drinks.
  • If you’re allergic to any food, don’t be afraid to be a little pushy.
  • If you need getting detailed information about ingredients from manufacturers, restaurant staff, or dinner hosts, ask until you get it.
  • Keep two epinephrine injection kits with you at all times and make sure they’re easy to get to.
  • Teach your family, friends, and colleagues about how to give you a shot if you have a reaction.
  • If your child is allergic, show her teachers, friends’ parents, and any other caregivers how to use the kit in an emergency.
  • Make sure the kit is always with your kid and they can get to it when he/she needs it.
  • Know the symptoms of a severe reaction.
  • Reach for the epinephrine if you think you’re beginning to have one.
  • Don’t wait to use your auto-injector because it won’t hurt you to take the shot just to be safe.
  • Check the date on your kit. Epinephrine typically has a 1-year shelf life.
  • Ask an allergy doctor about a treatment called desensitization who gives you little bits of the allergen until your reaction to them eases up.

Facts about Anaphylactic shock

  • Allergic reactions are common in children. Most reactions are mild.
  • A severe allergic reaction involves a person’s breathing and/or circulation.
  • Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of an allergic reaction and is life threatening.
  • An important aspect of allergy and anaphylaxis management is prevention by avoiding the cause.
  • Treatment for anaphylaxis involves lying the child flat (or seated), giving an auto-injector and calling an ambulance.

Diagnosis for Anaphylactic shock

For diagnosis of Anaphylactic shock, your doctor will order a blood test to measure the amount of a certain enzyme (tryptase) that can be elevated up to three hours after Anaphylactic shock. You might be tested for allergies by skin tests or blood tests that help determine your reason for this reaction.

Get recovery from anaphylactic shock with the blood test and skin examination etc. Continue your reading for how to treat anaphylaxis.

Treatment for Anaphylactic shock

The first step for anaphylactic shock treating will likely be Airway management. The early steps in Anaphylactic shock management involve a fast assessment of the patient’s airway. At the hospital, you’ll receive medicines that can reduce the severity of the allergic reaction and help to reduce inflammation in the air passages, improving your ability to breathe.

Any complications you have developed as a result of anaphylactic shock will also successfully be treated. Since you may not be able to do that all the time, make sure you have a plan to identify and treat symptoms of Anaphylactic shock right away.

Medical Advice for anaphylactic shock

Always take allergy medication that is prescribed by your doctor to reduce the likelihood or severity of future attacks. You should always take the allergy medications and consult your doctor before stopping them. It is good to carry some prescribed medicines with you in case of a future attack.

Post anaphylaxis care

  • Be aware of biphasic Anaphylaxis
  • Continue oral steroid and antihistamine for at least 48 hours after the reaction
  • Refill injectable epinephrine
  • Avoid diets particularly which involves milk or milk products

Urticaria anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a severe form of hypersensibility. It is very often associated with urticaria and angioedema. Urticaria in an anaphylactic reaction is acute, developing rapidly following exposure to a potential trigger.

Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA)

Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA) is an unusual form of exercise-induced anaphylaxis that occurs only when the patient exercises within 2-4 h of ingesting a specific food. Neither the food intake alone nor the exercise alone can trigger the anaphylactic reaction. This syndrome is underdiagnosed and many clinicians may not consider it in a patient presenting with anaphylaxis.

What are the Side effects after anaphylaxis?

Anaphylactic reaction is a life-threatening allergic action which usually affects more than one part of the body.

  • Lightheadedness
  • Anxiety
  • Swelling of the throat and tongue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blood pressure drops
  • Itchy red skin
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Your body goes into shock

Anaphylaxis in Dogs

Anaphylaxis in dogs is a severe allergic reaction that results in anaphylactic shock, respiratory or cardiac failure, or even death. The reaction can be localized to a certain part of the body or be more general and involve the shutdown of major organs.

Because any substance can cause an allergic reaction in dogs due to which it is unpredictable. Anaphylactic reactions are often triggered by a known allergen that a dog has come into contact with before and if you spot the symptoms of anaphylaxis in your dog, seek medical attention right away because this condition can be life-threatening. Most of the dogs that receive medication in time make a full recovery.

Anaphylaxis cure

There is no cure for Anaphylaxis. If the allergen is known, then prevention is the best course of action. This usually involves great efforts to screen out the offending substance. If it is a food, such as peanuts and Bee sting this will require a close study of the ingredients because it causes Bee sting anaphylaxis and Peanut anaphylaxis.

If an anaphylactic reaction has occurred then no time can be lost. The onset and development of the reaction can be immediate or may be delayed and drawn out. If the reaction is severe then an injection of adrenaline may be required. This will supplement the body’s own adrenaline production and accelerate relief.

Many people at risk of anaphylactic shock carry a loaded syringe dosed with adrenaline. Although not risk-free in itself, adrenaline injections have been known to save lives. Managing the treatment of children can be a problem, depending on the age of the child and the competency of those caring for them. Many schools will ensure that teachers are trained in the use of adrenalin injection packs, and will have a pack close to hand. Others may not be so well organized.

Triggers of anaphylaxis

The following are some of the common anaphylaxis triggers:

  • foods – including peanuts, milk, fish, shellfish, eggs and some fruits
  • medicines – including some antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin
  • insect stings – particularly wasp and bee stings
  • general anesthetic
  • contrast agents – special dyes used in some medical tests to help certain areas of your body show up better on scans
  • latex – a type of rubber found in some rubber gloves and condoms

In some cases, there’s no obvious trigger. This is known as idiopathic anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis Tips for People with Food Allergies

  • Learn all you can about avoiding allergens.
  • Read food labels carefully and don’t hesitate to ask questions when eating food you haven’t prepared yourself.
  • Have your medication with you wherever you go.
  • Talk to your allergist about when and how to use emergency medications.
  • Make sure your prescriptions are up-to-date. Refill them as they expire.
  • Consider wearing medical identification (such as bracelets or other jewelry).
  • Don’t hesitate to use expired epinephrine if that is all you have available—then call 911.
  • Don’t wait to see if your anaphylactic symptoms will improve! Use your emergency medications as prescribed, and don’t delay giving epinephrine. The risks from the allergic reaction far outweigh any risks from the medication.
  • Get to an emergency room for evaluation and further treatment right away—even if your medication has stopped the reaction.
  • Don’t take chances by eating a problem food. Epinephrine is not a foolproof treatment.

FAQs of Anaphylactic shock

What happens if Anaphylactic shock if left untreated?

This condition can be extremely dangerous if it isn’t treated immediately. It can lead to serious complications and even sometimes cause death. It’s an immediate medical emergency and recovery will depend on how quickly you get help.

When to seek for doctor’s help?

If you experience any symptoms of Anaphylactic shock then you are at a higher risk. Medical help is needed immediately and you should call 911 for emergency help. Follow the guidelines of your doctor to get a quick recovery.

How long will it take to go into anaphylactic shock?

Anaphylactic shock usually happens fast and often becomes the most serious within 3 to 30 minutes of exposure to the allergy trigger. Usually, the Quicker reactions are more severe.

How the anaphylactic shock is caused?

The anaphylactic shock is caused by hypersensitivity or by any allergic reactions.

Can anaphylactic shock be life threatening?

The anaphylactic shock is a systemic allergic reaction that can cause death within minutes, either through swelling of airways that troubles to breathe or through a fatal drop in blood pressure.

Can anaphylactic shock happen slowly?

The anaphylactic shock may have slower onset or slow progression. Rapid onset is associated with greater severity. But they occur only in 6% of Anaphylactic shock of mixed causes and are uncommon with insect stings.

Can anaphylactic shock last for days?

Anaphylactic shock can be mild, moderate or severe. In most of the cases it is mild but sometimes any Anaphylactic shock has the potential to become life-threatening. Anaphylactic shock develops rapidly and usually, it reaches peak severity within 5 to 30 minutes and may rarely last for several days.

Does Anaphylactic shock get worse each time?

The allergic reactions will get worse each time when someone has an allergic reaction. Only about 3 to 5 percent will get worse on subsequent reactions. However, if you’re allergic reaction is an extremely serious reaction and they can worsen with each exposure and can even lead to death.

Can a person get Anaphylactic shock even if he/she has no previous experience?

Just because an allergic person has never had an Anaphylactic shock in the past to an offending allergen doesn’t mean that one won’t occur in the future. You are at a higher risk of future reactions if you have already experienced an anaphylactic reaction in the past.

Can we prevent Anaphylactic shock?

To prevent this condition, the best way is to avoid the thing that triggers your reaction and follow some safety measures like wearing a medical alert bracelet to let people know about your allergy in case you’re not in the condition to talk. You also should tell your condition to your friends and family so they can help you in an emergency.

Is there a cure for Anaphylactic shock?

Currently, there are no known cures for allergies or Anaphylactic shock, but there are several management methods that allergic people can adopt to live a normal life and avoid reactions.

Who can likely develop Anaphylactic shock?

Anyone can develop this Anaphylactic shock. It can be seen in children and adults. According to some surveys, about 50% of children and young people have one or more allergy within the first 18 years of life and 13 million people below the mid-forties have two or more allergies.

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