Your best defense against anaphylactic shock is to know what you’re up against. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. Immediate medical attention is necessary to prevent potentially fatal results.
A Whole Body Allergic Response
Thankfully, anaphylaxis is not common. Anaphylaxis is a generalized, whole-body allergic reaction which engages two of the bodies systems and can be potentially fatal. Allergic reactions can include skin flushing, hives leading to the closure of the throat, swelling of the lips and/or stomach upset. Two or more of these symptoms mean the allergic response is happening throughout the body. This is the difference between an acute allergic reaction like anaphylaxis and a mild allergic response.
Be Prepared, It Comes On Fast
Anaphylaxis can be immediate or take up to two hours to fully realize. Allergens which directly enter the blood stream are the most dangerous. This includes bee stings and allergies to antibiotics. The reaction can happen in seconds. More commonly, a reaction to an ingested allergen may start slowly with a flushing of the skin or swelling of the mouth then advance to stomach upset in a few minutes or an hour.
Can You Be Sure It’s Anaphylaxis?
The reaction may be difficult to recognize. There are gray areas. Most importantly look for the two systems of reaction. It is important not to dismiss symptoms because they are not happening within seconds. It can take a few hours for some allergic responses to show their full strength. If there is any doubt, use an epinephrine auto-injector right away. It’s better to be safe. The side effects are minimal and the benefits could be life-saving.