Anaphylactic Shock News

Anaphylactic shock, or anaphylaxis, occurs when the body reacts to an allergen and triggers a series of symptoms that can be dangerous and life-threatening. Anaphylaxis typically involves a swollen throat and difficult breathing, but it also produces low blood pressure, weakness, chest tightness and fainting. Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur, and anaphylaxis can produce an itchy skin rash as well.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis typically develop within minutes of exposure to the allergen. In rarer instances, anaphylaxis occurs several hours later. About 25 percent of those with anaphylaxis experience a second wave of anaphylactic shock, called biphasic anaphylaxis, a few hours after the first wave.

Anaphylaxis usually occurs in reaction to a food allergy, but other allergens also can trigger anaphylactic shock. For example, allergies to medications, latex or insect stings can be triggers of anaphylaxis. In rarer instances, exercise causes anaphylaxis.

Treatment of Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylaxis is life-threatening and should be viewed as a medical emergency. If you suspect you might have it, it’s important to work closely with a doctor to form an action plan for dealing with the condition.

Step one, of course, is to take great care to avoid the potential allergen, whether that's shellfish, peanuts or bee stings. People prone to anaphylaxis should also have a supply of epinephrine on hand at all times. When administered, this injectable rescue medication can stop anaphylactic shock. It's known as an epinephrine auto-injector, or an EpiPen.

Even if epinephrine is administered, it’s important to obtain emergency medical treatment for the person who experienced anaphylactic shock. Further evaluation and treatment is needed to ensure that the anaphylaxis has passed and that the person is safe.

SOURCES: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; Food Allergy Research and Education

Date Posted
Article Title
Serious Reactions to Vaccines Rarely Recur: Review

Findings add to evidence of safety of childhood immunizations, pediatricians say

Too Few Children Get EpiPen When Needed: Study

First-line treatment for severe allergic reaction is often neglected

Nearly 4 Percent of Americans Suffer From Food Allergies

Study finds most common allergy is to shellfish, but peanuts also pose big threat

Expired EpiPens May Still Help Save a Life: Study

But allergy experts advise not counting on older devices if you can replace them

Are EpiPen Expiration Dates Accurate?

Should expiration dates on EpiPens be revised?

Treating Anaphylaxis

The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses epinephrine is the recommended first choice treatment for anaphylaxis.

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First line of defense is an epinephrine auto-injector, pediatricians say

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Lack of support programs to help them stay safe is a significant issue, allergists say

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New guidelines coming soon from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Join the Teal Pumpkin Project on Halloween

Painted pumpkins let trick-or-treaters with food allergies know safe treats are available

Halloween Can Be a Fright for Kids With Food Allergies

Expert offers tips for getting your ghosts and goblins safely through the holiday

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Just 33 people from 25 million immunized were affected, researchers report

Add Asthma, Allergy Plans to Your Back-to-School List

From students to teachers to school nurses, everyone needs to be on the same page to prevent problems

Second Severe Allergic Reaction Isn't Uncommon

Study finds about one in seven kids has repeat episode

Experts Urge Quick Use of Epinephrine for Severe Allergic Reactions

New guidelines emphasize how effective and safe the injection is

Many Docs Mistaken About Allergies: Study

Survey results show lots of primary care physicians lack knowledge of causes, treatments

Medicines Are Biggest Culprit in Fatal Allergic Reactions: Study

Antibiotics, contrast material for scans lead the list of triggers

More Schools Stocking Shots That Counter Serious Allergic Reactions

Having epinephrine auto-injectors on hand can save lives, advocates say

Gradual Exposure to Peanuts May Help Some Allergic Kids

Experimental therapy increased tolerance, but much more testing needed, doctors say

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Used to stabilize the vaccine, gelatin could cause reaction in those who are sensitive to it, experts say

Certain Allergies Plus Blood Pressure Meds Could Be Bad Mix

People on ACE inhibitors can experience oral allergy syndrome, a rare reaction to some fruits, vegetables

Halloween Safety Tips for Kids With Food Allergies

Specialist tells parents how to avoid trick-or-treating hazards

Taking the Sting Out of Insect-Bite Allergies

Immunotherapy shots can reduce risk of serious reaction, allergists say

Tick-Borne Meat Allergy May Have Affected Virginia Kids

Study found 45 suspected cases in 2011 and 2012

Allergy 'Rescue' Shots May Work Better in Lower Thigh of Overweight Kids

Study found needles for lifesaving medication too short to reach upper-thigh muscle

Study: Allergies Need to Be Taken Seriously

Found that those who wound up in the hospital often did not have epinephrine, had not seen allergist

Some Kids May Overcome or Outgrow Egg Allergy, Study Suggests

Children were able to tolerate baked eggs during food challenges in controlled setting

Son's Real-Life Drama Leads Comedy Queen to Medical Role

Julie Bowen of 'Modern Family' spearheads allergy-awareness campaign

Untreated Food Allergies More Likely in Poor, Minority Kids

Some symptoms aren't as obvious as hives, puffy eyes or rash, researchers say

Options Increasing for Coping With Kids' Food Allergies

Medication, herbs and desensitization offer alternatives to avoidance, experts say

Certain Tick Bites Might Spur Red Meat Allergy

After exposure to Lone Star tick, some people must avoid red meat thereafter

More Vigilance Needed to Protect Kids With Food Allergies

Study showed more than 70% suffer reactions after exposure, 11% of those severe

Summer's Heat May Enflame Hives

Skin condition can be temporary or chronic, experts say

Over-the-Counter Bug Bite Remedies Don't Work: Report

Mild reactions might not call for tablets or creams

Most People Can't Tell a Tree Nut From a Peanut

Knowing which nuts to avoid can be a matter of life-or-death for those with nut allergies, study says

Many Asthmatics Do Well on Food-Allergy Tests, Study Finds

Less likely to have a bad reaction during an oral food-allergy test

More People Need Training in Lifesaving Epinephrine Use, Advocates Say

Parents, educators, caregivers, friends can respond to severe food allergies

Can Platelet Transfusions Trigger Severe Reaction in Those With Peanut Allergies?

Case report suggests that it's possible, but experts say there is no cause for alarm

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It's a serious allergic reaction

Meat Might Be Behind Many Unidentified Allergic Reactions

Certain carb could be causing severe anaphylaxis, researchers warn

Bad Reaction No Good Reason to Avoid Future Shots

Experts urge doctors to investigate source of vaccine allergy

Food Allergy Facts Need More Focus

Many U.S. adults unaware there is no cure, survey finds

New Food Label Law Eagerly Awaited

But those with food allergies may find even more dietary restrictions with 'plain language' labels

Breast Feeding Can Help Control Food Allergies

Study shows that nursing will delay or prevent certain allergies