Anaphylaxis is a severe life threatening allergic reaction. The reaction can occur within minutes or seconds of exposure to the allergen. It causes itchy rash, throat or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, light-headedness and low blood pressure. It affects more than one part of the body. It requires immediate medical attention or else it could lead to death.
HOW IS ANAPHYLAXIS DIAGNOSED?
The common causes are insect bites and stings, food and medications. It is diagnosed on the basis of signs and symptoms. The following tests are used to diagnose anaphylaxis by a general physician: 1. Blood test; 2. Allergy testing; 3. Patch test
HOW IS ANAPHYLAXIS TREATED?
Anaphylaxis cannot be treated, but can be prevented by avoiding the trigger allergen. Immunotherapy using hymenoptera venoms is effective in desensitizing adults and children. In an emergency situation, resuscitation, supplemental oxygen, airway management, large volumes of intravenous fluids are administered to patients. Patients need to be constantly monitored till the symptoms subside. Patients are given antihistamines for lessening the allergic reaction.
DID YOU KNOW?
Charles Richet was awarded Noble prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on anaphylaxis in 1913