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Anaphylaxis

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Anaphylaxis 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.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

  • Epinephrine is used to treat severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis.
  • Antihistamines help reduce swelling, hives, and itching.
  • Steroids help prevent a second reaction.
  • A bronchodilator help open your airway and make breathing easier.

Tests:

An ECG records your heart rhythm and how fast your heart beats. It is used to see if your heart is beating normally.

Treatment:

  • 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. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
  • A ventilator is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal tube (ET) is put in your mouth or nose and attached to the ventilator. You may need a trach if an ET tube cannot be placed. A trach is a tube that is put through an incision and into your windpipe then attached to the ventilator.

RISKS:

Even with treatment, a second reaction may occur 24 to 72 hours after the first. Without immediate treatment, the signs and symptoms caused by anaphylaxis may become life-threatening.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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