Anaphylactic shock occurs as a result of a severe allergic reaction. This causes a reduction in circulating blood volume. This is common in people who have already been exposed to an allergen. The reaction begins within seconds or minutes after the exposure.
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction. It can begin very quickly, and symptoms may be life-threatening. The most common causes are reactions to foods (especially peanuts), medications, and stinging insects. Other causes include exercise and exposure to latex. Sometimes no cause can be found.
In most cases, people with allergies develop mild to moderate symptoms, such as watery eyes, a runny nose or a rash. But sometimes, exposure to an allergen can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
This severe reaction happens when an over-release of chemicals puts the person into shock. Allergies to food, insect stings, medications and latex are most frequently associated with anaphylaxis.
Symptoms of an anaphylactic shock
- Pale skin with reddened areas, hives, itching, and swelling at the site of exposure.
- Increased body temperature.
- Feeling of choking when swallowing.
- Difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness or discomfort.
- Swelling of the tongue and mouth area, nasal congestion, and facial swelling.
- Dizziness and slurred speech.
- Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrheoa.
- Increased heart rate, weak rapid pulse.
First aid care for anaphylactic shock
First and foremost, your local emergency services number
Anaphylactic shock is a medical emergency and requires expert medical attention and possibly hospitalization. The initial reaction involves swelling and itching at the site of exposure. For an insect sting, this will occur on the skin. For a food or drug allergy, the swelling will likely begin in the mouth and throat area, which can quickly interrupt the ability to breathe. In most cases, it can lead to death if it is not treated immediately. Stay on the line with emergency services for further instructions as you administer treatment. Do not delay in seeking emergency medical treatment, even if symptoms appear mild. In some cases, the reaction may be mild at first, then reach a serious and life-threatening level several hours after exposure.
Furthermore, Inject epinephrine.
Ask the person if they have an epinephrine auto-injector, such as an EpiPen. The shot is usually administered in the thigh. Do not assume this injection will be enough to completely stop the reaction. Proceed with treatment accordingly, including seeking emergency medical attention.
Moreover, be calm and reassure the person
Try to determine the cause of the reaction. Common allergies that can cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock include bee or wasp stings, insect bites or stings such as fire ants, food items including peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and soy or wheat products.
To add to, prevent shock.
- Position the person flat on the ground or floor.
- Do not place a pillow under their head since this can interfere with their breathing.
- Do not give the person anything to eat or drink.
- Elevate their feet above the ground and cover the person with something warm such as a coat or blanket.
- Loosen tight clothing such as belts, neck ties, buttoned pants, collars or shirts, shoes, and jewelry around the neck or wrist.
- If an injury is suspected to the head, neck, back, or spine, do not raise their legs, just let the person remain flat on the ground or floor.
- To prevent choking and maintain their airway, roll the person on their side if they begin to vomit or if you notice blood in the mouth.
- Even if the person is breathing on their own, continue to monitor the rate of respiration and the pulse rate every few minutes.
- Perform CPR. An untrained person may do serious harm to someone by attempting CPR.
- Stay with the person until the paramedics arrive.
How can you prevent anaphylaxis?
Below are ways to help prevent or avoid anaphylaxis.
- Alert all doctors about any allergies you have.
- Tell your doctors if you have had anaphylaxis in the past.
- Avoid eating or touching foods you are allergic to. Because, even tiny amounts can cause a severe reaction. Read the ingredient list on packaged foods. When eating out, tell the server or chef about your allergy.
- If you are allergic to insect stings, wear protective clothing and insect repellent when you are outside.
- Wear or carry either a medical alert bracelet, keychain, or card. This will help doctors and health professionals who treat you in an emergency.
- Carry an emergency anaphylaxis kit with you at all times. Your doctor can prescribe this. It contains medicine to reduce an allergic reaction once it starts. The medicine is called an epinephrine injector (EpiPen). Family, friends, and coworkers should know how to use it.