ANAPHYLAXIS (Allergic Shock)
DESCRIPTIONAnaphylaxis is a severe allergic response to medications and many other allergy-causing substances. Blood vessels throughout the body, the heart, the lungs, and the skin are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Doctor's treatment and hospitalization (sometimes).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSTingling or numbness around the mouth.
Itching all over, often accompanied by hives.
Tightness in the chest and difficult breathing.
Swelling or itching in the mouth or throat.
Loss of consciousness.
Not all symptoms occur. Seek immediate help for any.
Any of the following may occur within seconds or a few minutes after exposure to a substance to which your child is very allergic:
CAUSESMedication of all types, especially penicillin. Injections are much riskier than oral medications.
Stings or bites from insects, such as bees, biting ants, and some spiders.
Injected chemicals used in some types of X-ray studies.
Foods, especially eggs, beans, seafood, and fruit.
Eating or receiving injections of something to which the child is sensitive. The allergic response to neutralize or get rid of the material results in a life-threatening overreaction. Things which cause reactions most often include:
RISK FACTORSA previous mild allergic response to things listed above.
Medical history of eczema, hay fever or asthma.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEIf your child has an allergic history:
Tell your doctor before accepting any medication. Before your child is given a shot, ask what it is.
Keep an anaphylaxis kit, such as Ana-Kit, with you at all times. Be sure your family knows how to use the kit if anyone has a reaction.
Have your child wear a Medic-Alert bracelet or pendant (See Glossary) warning about allergies.
Always remain in your doctor's office 15 minutes after your child receives any injection. Report any symptoms immediately.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory skin tests to determine sensitivities.
Blood and urine tests.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSWithout prompt treatment, anaphylaxis causes shock, cardiac arrest, and death.
Full recovery with prompt treatment.
If you observe signs of anaphylaxis in your child and breathing stops:
--Yell for help. Don't leave the victim.
--Begin mouth-to-mouth breathing immediately.
--If there is no heartbeat, give external cardiac massage.
--Have someone call 0 (operator) or 911 (emergency) for an ambulance or medical help.
--Don't stop CPR until help arrives.
Be alert to the possibility of a reaction when taking any medicine, and be prepared to respond quickly if symptoms occur. If your child has had a previous severe allergic reaction, always carry your anaphylaxis kit.
MEDICATIONAdrenalin by injection is the only effective immediate treatment.
Aminophylline, cortisone drugs, or antihistamines--given after the adrenalin--help prevent the return of acute symptoms.
Your child can resume normal activities as soon as symptoms improve after an attack. Observe him for 24 hours in case symptoms recur.
DIET & FLUIDS
Have the child avoid foods to which he is allergic.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Not until all symptoms resolve.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of anaphylaxis. This is an emergency!
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.