Adult Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger such as an allergy, It’s also known as anaphylactic shock.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis usually develops suddenly and gets worse very quickly. The symptoms include:
- feeling lightheaded or faint
- breathing difficulties– such as fast, shallow breathing
- a fast heartbeat
- clammy skin
- confusion and anxiety
- collapsing or losing consciousness
There may also be other allergy symptoms, including an itchy, raised rash, (hives), feeling or being sick, swelling or stomach pain.
What to do if someone has anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. It can be very serious if not treated quickly.
If someone has symptoms of anaphylaxis, you should:
- use an adrenaline (EpiPen) auto-injector if the person has one– but make sure you know how to use it correctly first (You should have one in clinic ) They’re prescription only
- Call 999 for an ambulance immediately (even if they start to feel better)– mention that you think the person has anaphylaxis
- Remove any trigger if possible– Remove any anaesthetic ( numbing cream ) or product
- Lie the person down flat– unless they’re unconscious, pregnant or having breathing difficulties
- Give another injection after 5-15 minutesif the symptoms don’t improve and a second auto-injector is available
If they’re having an anaphylactic reaction, you can follow these steps yourself if you feel able to do on the client.
Triggers of anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is the result of the immune system – the body’s natural defense system – overreacting to a trigger.
This is often something you’re allergic to, but isn’t always.
Common anaphylaxis triggers include:
- Foods– including nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, eggs and some fruits
- Medicines– including some antibiotics and non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin
- Insect stings – particularly wasp and bee stings
- General anaesthetic
- Contrast agents– special dyes used in some medical tests to help certain areas of your body show up better on scans
- Latex– a type of rubber found in some rubber gloves and condoms
In some cases, there’s no obvious trigger. This is known as idiopathic anaphylaxis