Dr. A. B. Consentino School
Allergies affect many people; their symptoms can affect several areas of the body and may cause Anaphylaxis. This means the symptoms jeopardize breathing and blood circulation. Food allergies are the most common allergy, although several other allergens – insect stings, medications, or latex – are other triggers. Very rarely, anaphylaxis can occur without an identifiable trigger.
Common Food Allergies
The Foods most likely to cause a severe reaction are peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Although nearly any food can cause an allergic reaction, only eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions in the United States. These foods are:
People who have both asthma and a food allergy are at greater risk for anaphylaxis. They should avoid the problem foods, this is the only way to prevent anaphylaxis, although researchers are working on preventive therapies.
Symptoms of Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis often begins within minutes after a person eats a problem food. Less commonly, symptoms may begin hours later. About 25 percent of patients have a second wave of symptoms one to several hours after their initial symptoms have subsided.
Anaphylaxis is likely to be occurring when any ONE of the following happens within minutes to hours after ingestion of the food allergen:
1. A person has symptoms that involve the skin, nose, mouth or gastrointestinal tract and either:
- Difficulty breathing, or
- Reduced blood pressure (e.g., pale, weak pulse, confusion, loss of consciousness)
2. A person was exposed to a suspected allergen, and two or more of the following occur:
- Skin symptoms or swollen lips
- Difficulty breathing
- Reduced blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, or cramping)
3. A person was exposed to a known allergen, and experiences:
- Reduced blood pressure, leading to weakness or fainting
Patients and their families should know how to respond to a severe reaction. If your allergist prescribes epinephrine, it is normal to be nervous about learning how to properly use the auto-injector. Keep in mind that thousands of people have successfully learned to use these devices, and with practice, you will, too. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and practice using the training device provided by the manufacturer. Check out the manufacturer’s website to see if a training video is available. By making sure you are have all of the information you need and practicing with the training device, you will be well prepared to use the auto-injector when anaphylaxis occurs. Knowing that you are prepared for an emergency will give you peace of mind. (About anaphylaxis, 2013)
Keep in mind that epinephrine expires after a certain period (usually around one year), so be sure to check the expiration date and renew your prescription in time. Although you may never need to take your medication, it is important to have it available and ready for use at all times. (Allergists generally recommend that if you have an anaphylactic reaction and your epinephrine has expired, you should use the auto-injector anyway and, as always, call 911 for help immediately.) (About anaphylaxis, 2013)
- Have your medication with you wherever you go.
- Talk to your allergist about when and how to use emergency medications.
- Make sure prescriptions are up-to-date.
- Wear medical identification (e.g., bracelets, other jewelry) at all times.
- Do not delay using your epinephrine while waiting to see if your symptoms improve! Use your emergency medications as prescribed.
- Get to an emergency room for evaluation and further treatment right away – even if your medication has stopped the reaction.
- Epinephrine is not a “foolproof” treatment. Do not take chances by eating a problem food.
(About anaphylaxis, 2013)
About anaphylaxis. (2013). Retrieved from FARE Food Allergy Research & Education : http://www.foodallergy.org/anaphylaxis#symptoms
More websites on Allergies
Information on Insect Allergies
Information on Latex Allergies
Paperwork Needed for School If your Child has an Allergy
Benadryl (not every child will have a Benadryl order)