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The Prevention Steps For Severe Allergic Reaction

Jul 25, 2008
Strictly avoid contact with the substance (allergen) that was the trigger. If the trigger is a food, you must learn to read food labels carefully. When ordering foods at restaurants or eating in friends' homes, ask about ingredients. Be aware of ingredients that may contain triggers. Avoid eating foods if you can't confirm their ingredients.

If your reactions are severe, contact the manufacturer to assure that the triggering food was not processed in the same area as a food to which you are allergic. If the trigger is a drug, inform all health care providers of the reaction. Be prepared to report what happened when you had the reaction. Wear a tag (necklace or bracelet) that identifies the allergy.

Insect stings are more difficult to avoid. Wear long-sleeved clothing outdoors. Avoid bright colors and perfumes that attract stinging insects. Use caution with sweetened beverages outdoors, such as uncovered soft drinks.

People who are likely to be re-exposed to (or are unable to avoid) an allergen that has caused them a severe anaphylactic reaction in the past should see an allergist for desensitization. Skin testing may be required to help identify the allergen.

With appropriate and timely treatment, you can expect full recovery. With severe anaphylaxis, although rare, people may die from low blood pressure (shock) or respiratory and cardiac arrest.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that occurs rapidly and causes a life-threatening response involving the whole body. This reaction can lead to difficulty breathing and shock ultimately leading to death. For an anaphylactic reaction to occur, you must have been exposed in the past to the substance that causes the reaction, called the antigen. This is called sensitization.

A bee sting, for example, may not cause an allergic reaction the first time. Another bee sting may produce a sudden, severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.

These reactions usually occur within seconds to minutes of exposure. Occasionally, they are delayed. You may develop sensitivity and anaphylaxis to a substance that you have been exposed to many times in the past without a reaction, and often people don't recall the previous exposure.

The symptoms of anaphylaxis can vary. In some people, the reaction begins very slowly, but in most the symptoms appear rapidly and abruptly. The most severe and life-threatening symptoms are difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness.

While some symptoms are life threatening, others are merely uncomfortable. Generally, a reaction must involve at least two different body systems, such as skin and heart, to be considered anaphylaxis.
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