Allergy refers to a symptom that adversely affects the human body as the immune response is excessively triggered by external antigens such as exposure to pollen or house dust, and ingestion of certain foods. Anaphylaxis refers to a hypersensitivity reaction of the body to a specific substance, and it refers to a symptom in which sudden allergic symptoms appear throughout the body within a short period of time even when a very small amount of a specific substance is touched. It is known that it not only causes abnormalities in normal breathing and blood pressure in an acute condition, but also causes shock symptoms in severe cases, which can lead to serious consequences if proper treatment is delayed. Anaphylaxis occurs when a person who is hypersensitive to a certain substance comes into contact with that substance. It is known to be caused not only by drugs such as penicillin, antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, contrast agents, blood products, and vaccines, but also by ingestion of various foods such as peanuts, eggs, buckwheat, crustaceans such as shrimp and crayfish. It has also been known to be caused by bee stings or the bites of various types of insects, including ants and centipedes. Now, let’s learn about the main symptoms that appear when anaphylaxis occurs, as well as various information related to treatment and prevention.
Main symptoms of anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis symptoms are most acute within 30 minutes of contact with a hypersensitive substance, and various physical abnormalities occur. Along with symptoms such as stuffy nose and runny nose, respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath due to contraction and spasm of the bronchial muscles, wheezing sound due to narrowing of the bronchial tubes, and hypoxia occur.
Also, because the blood flow to the brain decreases due to the decrease in blood pressure, symptoms such as headache and dizziness may occur. In addition, itching, hives, and redness may occur on the skin or mucous membranes, and various symptoms such as angioedema on the tongue and lips, and numbness in the mouth and hands and feet may also occur.
These symptoms of anaphylaxis appear acutely, so it is one of the diseases that must be treated immediately. If treated immediately, it can be recovered without any side effects, but if treatment is delayed, related abnormalities such as respiratory, digestive, and circulatory system will worsen. In addition, if severe blood pressure continues to drop or if there are existing brain and heart-related diseases, the risk of organ damage and various complications due to low blood pressure increases. And shock caused by an acute episode can lead to loss of consciousness and, in the worst case, life-threatening fatal consequences. Therefore, when symptoms occur, prompt treatment through emergency measures is required, and it is important to minimize exposure to substances that cause it.
Anaphylaxis Treatment and Prevention
1. Diagnosis and prompt emergency treatment
Anaphylaxis is diagnosed through a provocation test that identifies the occurrence of respiratory, circulatory, and digestive-related abnormalities within a short period of time after exposure to the causative agent. And for a more accurate test, a test that detects allergen-specific lgE in the serum can be performed. In case of anaphylaxis symptoms, first aid measures should be taken to raise blood pressure and secure the airway. And if there is portable epinephrine, it is important to go to the hospital as soon as possible after self-injection into the thigh to receive emergency treatment. Afterwards, in order to alleviate symptoms, in addition to epinephrine, supplementary treatment with fluid supply and oxygen supply, as well as antihistamines, steroids, and blood pressure-increasing drugs will be performed.
2. Minimize exposure to causative agents and food
In order to prevent and manage the symptoms of anaphylaxis, it is most important to avoid exposure to the causative agent that is the cause as much as possible. In addition, as symptoms of anaphylaxis are known to occur due to ingestion of shellfish such as peanuts, buckwheat, eggs, crayfish and shrimp, it is recommended to avoid consumption of these food groups as much as possible. It is recommended to receive . And in the case of food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis, it is important to avoid exposure to symptom-causing foods and to limit exercise in case of accidental exposure.
In addition, when it is difficult to avoid causative agents such as idiopathic anaphylaxis and bee venom anaphylaxis or when re-exposure is unavoidable, it is important to always carry an epinephrine auto-injector. It is important to know how. In addition, in case of loss of consciousness due to shock, it is said that it is an important preventive habit to notify the people around you of your symptoms or to carry a card with the details of your symptoms so that people around you can respond quickly.