Anaphylactic Shock: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention.

An overview of the Anaphylactic Shock

In most cases, people with allergies develop mild to moderate symptoms, such as watery eyes, stuffy nose or rash.

But sometimes, exposure to an allergen can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

This severe reaction occurs when an excess release of chemicals puts the person in a state of shock. Food allergies, insect bites, medications and latex are most commonly associated with anaphylaxis.

The second anaphylactic reaction, known as biphasic reaction, can occur up to 12 hours after the initial reaction.

Call emergencies and go to the emergency center closest to the first sign of anaphylaxis, even if you have already administered epinephrine , the medicine used to treat severe allergic reactions.

Just because an allergic person has never had an anaphylactic reaction in the past to an offensive allergen, does not mean that it does not occur in the future. If you have had an anaphylactic reaction in the past, you run the risk of future reactions.


Symptoms of anaphylaxis occur suddenly and can progress rapidly. The first symptoms may be mild, such as a runny nose, a rash, or a “strange feeling.” These symptoms can quickly lead to more serious problems, including:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Hives or swelling
  • Impenetrability of the throat.
  • Hoarsely.
  • Nausea.
  • Threw up.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Fast beats
  • Feeling of drowning
  • Heart attack.

People who have had a severe allergic reaction are at risk of future reactions. Even if your first reaction is mild, future reactions may be more serious. That’s why it’s important to take auto-injectable adrenaline if you’re at risk, and to call for emergencies in case of a very serious reaction.

Understanding anaphylaxis and the things that can trigger this severe allergic reaction will help you manage your condition.


If you have a history of allergies and / or asthma and have previously had a severe reaction, you are at increased risk of anaphylaxis.

Allergists have the training and experience to review their history of allergic reactions, perform diagnostic tests (such as skin tests, blood tests, and oral food tests) to determine their triggers, review treatment options, and teach avoidance techniques.

Consultation with an allergist is recommended if:

  • Not sure if he has had an anaphylactic reaction.
  • Its symptoms are recurrent or difficult to control.
  • You have problems controlling your condition.
  • More tests are needed to determine the cause of their reactions.
  • Desensitization or immunotherapy may be useful in your case.
  • Daily medication is needed.
  • He needs intensive education on the management of avoidance and anaphylaxis.
  • Other medical conditions complicate your treatment.

Management and treatment.

An anaphylactic reaction should be treated immediately with an adrenaline injection. The doses, available by prescription, come in a self-injector that should be kept with you at all times.

Two injections may be necessary to control the symptoms. Here are some tips to reduce the risk of anaphylaxis:

  1. Know your detonator. If you have had anaphylaxis, it is very important to know what caused the reaction. An allergist can review your medical history and, if necessary, perform diagnostic tests. The most common triggers are:
  2. Food: including peanuts, nuts, fish, seafood, cow’s milk and eggs.
  3. Latex: found in disposable gloves, intravenous tubes, syringes, adhesive tapes and catheters.
  4. Health workers, children with spina bifida, genitourinary anomalies and people who work with natural latex have a higher risk of anaphylaxis induced by latex.
  5. Medications: including penicillin, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, and anesthesia.
  6. Insect bite: with bees, wasps, hornets, and ants are the most likely to trigger anaphylaxis.
  7. Avoid the detonator. Prevention is the most effective way to prevent anaphylaxis.
  8. An allergist can work with you to develop specific avoidance measures tailored specifically to your age, activities, occupation, hobbies, family environment and access to medical care.

Here are some general avoidance techniques for common triggers:

  • Allergies to food Be a detective with the labels and be sure to check all the labels of the food ingredients carefully to discover potential allergens.

When eating out, ask at the restaurant how the food is prepared and what ingredients are used. If you have a child with a history of anaphylaxis, it is imperative to ensure that school personnel are informed of the child’s condition and a treatment plan is provided, including the administration of epinephrine.

Medicines. Make sure all your doctors are aware of any reactions you have had with medications so they can prescribe safe alternatives and alert you to other medications you need to avoid.

If there are no alternative medications, you may be a candidate for desensitization, a treatment that introduces a small dose of the medication to which you are allergic. As your body becomes more tolerant to medication, the dose may increase over time.

While the treatment is effective, it is only temporary and should be repeated if the medication is needed again in the future.

Insect bites. To avoid insect bites, avoid walking barefoot on the lawn, drink from soda cans, wear brightly colored clothes with flowery patterns, sweet smelling perfumes, lacquers and lotion during the active insect season in late summer and early summer. autumn.

Preventive treatment

An allergist can also provide a preventive treatment called poison immunotherapy for the bite of insects.

The treatment works by introducing gradually increasing doses of venom purified insects, and has been shown to be 90 to 98 percent effective in preventing future allergic reactions to insect bites.

Be prepared. The rapid recognition of the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis is essential.

If you unexpectedly come in contact with the trigger, you should immediately follow the emergency plan described by your doctor, including the self-administration of epinephrine.

If there is any doubt about the reaction, it is usually best to administer epinephrine. Be sure to keep your epinephrine auto-injector close.

If an expired auto-injector is the only one available in an emergency situation, administer it immediately anyway.

Teachers and other caregivers should be informed of children who are at risk of anaphylaxis and know what to do in an allergic emergency.