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is a life-threatening allergic reaction that must be treated immediately. Your risk for anaphylaxis increases if you have asthma that is severe or not controlled. Medical conditions such as heart disease can also increase your risk. It is important to be prepared if you are at risk for anaphylaxis. Your symptoms can be worse each time you are exposed to the trigger.
The following are some of the most common triggers:
- Milk, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, shellfish, wheat, and soy
- Stings from bees, wasps, or fire ants
- Antibiotics, NSAIDs, or aspirin
- Exercise following exposure to another trigger, such as after you eat a trigger food
Common signs and symptoms:
You may have any of the following within seconds to hours after exposure to a trigger:
- Trouble breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing
- Throat tightening, swelling of the lips or tongue, or trouble swallowing
- Rash, hives, swelling, or itching
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, or confusion
- Sudden behavior changes or irritability
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have a skin rash, hives, swelling, or itching.
- You have trouble breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing.
- Your throat tightens or your lips or tongue swell.
- You have difficulty swallowing or speaking.
- You are dizzy, lightheaded, confused, or feel like you are going to faint.
- You have nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps, or you are vomiting.
Seek care immediately if:
- Signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis return.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Steps to take for signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis:
- Immediately give 1 shot of epinephrine only into the outer thigh muscle.
- Leave the shot in place as directed. Your healthcare provider may recommend you leave it in place for up to 10 seconds before you remove it. This helps make sure all of the epinephrine is delivered.
- Call 911 and go to the emergency department, even if the shot improved symptoms. Do not drive yourself. Bring the used epinephrine shot with you.
will depend on how severe your reaction was and if you had a reaction before. You may need any of the following:
- Epinephrine is medicine used to treat severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis.
- Medicines such as antihistamines, steroids, and bronchodilators decrease inflammation, open airways, and make breathing easier.
- Oxygen may be needed if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils.
- Keep 2 shots of epinephrine with you at all times. You may need a second shot, because epinephrine only works for about 20 minutes and symptoms may return. Your healthcare provider can show you and family members how to give the shot. Check the expiration date every month and replace it before it expires.
- Create an action plan. Your healthcare provider can help you create a written plan that explains the allergy and an emergency plan to treat a reaction. The plan explains when to give a second epinephrine shot if symptoms return or do not improve after the first. Give copies of the action plan and emergency instructions to family members, work and school staff, and daycare providers. Show them how to give a shot of epinephrine.
- Be careful when you exercise. If you have had exercise-induced anaphylaxis, do not exercise right after you eat. Stop exercising right away if you start to develop any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis. You may first feel tired, warm, or have itchy skin. Hives, swelling, and severe breathing problems may develop if you continue to exercise.
- Carry medical alert identification. Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that explains the allergy. Ask your healthcare provider where to get these items.
- Identify and avoid known triggers. Read food labels for ingredients. Look for triggers in your environment.
- Ask about treatments to prevent anaphylaxis. You may need allergy shots or other medicines to treat allergies.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Allergy testing may reveal allergies that can trigger anaphylaxis. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.