Anaphylaxis is a severe and in some cases life-threatening allergic reaction that develops rapidly in response to an allergen. It is caused by an overreaction of the immune system. Any allergic reaction can lead to anaphylaxis, though it is not common. For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention as they may be able to help with preventative measures such as immunotherapy to avoid a similar reaction in the future.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis

The most important and obvious symptom of anaphylactic shock is difficulty breathing. Anyone struggling to breathe will require medical attention and it is very important to seek this as quickly as possible. There are a number of other common symptoms that occur alongside or before difficulty breathing. These include a weak and rapid pulse, swelling of the throat, tongue and sometimes mouth, skin reactions including hives and flushed or pale skin, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea, dizziness or fainting and loss of consciousness.

Treatments for anaphylaxis

If you suspect that someone is suffering from anaphylactic shock, call an ambulance immediately and use an adrenaline injector or Epipen if one is available. Removing any obvious sting in the skin will also help. The patient will need to go to hospital even if they receive adrenaline, as they may need oxygen and to be kept under observation to make sure the symptoms do not return. For a short period of days afterwards, the patient will need to take antihistamine or similar drugs to prevent the symptoms from reoccurring. 

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