Anaphylaxis and Your Health

What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis — the word is definitely a mouthful, but it something that everyone should know about. Anaphylaxis can happen to anyone at any time, and knowing what it is and how to treat it can be important and lifesaving information.

What You Need To Know

Anaphylaxis is an extremely severe allergic reaction to something, and it can potentially be fatal. Anaphylaxis is often caused by foods, particularly foods that an individual is allergic too. The difficulty is that some individuals can have an allergic reaction to a food that they previously have not been allergic to. Common foods that can trigger anaphylaxis include peanuts, tree nuts such as almonds and walnuts, and shellfish. Anaphylaxis can also be caused by medications and is almost always listed as one of the rare but possible side effects of almost every medication. Latex is another culprit in causing anaphylaxis as are insect stings or bites.

Who’s At Risk?

Individuals with food allergies or asthma are more likely to suffer from anaphylaxis, but really anyone can experience anaphylaxis. That is why it is so important to learn the symptoms of anaphylaxis.

The Signs of Anaphylaxis

If you experience difficulty breathing, it can be a sign you are experiencing anaphylaxis. The real concern is that symptoms can come on suddenly anywhere from a few minutes up to two hours after eating something, taking a medication, wearing latex, etc. Vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling in your mouth and throat can be other symptoms of anaphylaxis. Everyone responds somewhat differently, and that is why many people have trouble recognizing what is happening.

If you think you might be experiencing anaphylaxis, it is very important for you to seek emergency medical care immediately.

Fortunately anaphylaxis is rare. Only about 30 out of 100,000 people experience anaphylaxis each year, so don’t be too worried particularly if you don’t have other immune-related problems such as asthma or eczema.