Anaphylaxis is a dangerous allergic reaction, producing intense symptoms that can lead to death if not treated. Allergic reactions happen when your immune system overreacts and attacks a harmless substance in your body.
Allergies are not usually a serious medical concern, as they typically affect only a small area — your eyes and nose in the case of seasonal allergies, for example. Anaphylaxis, however, is a medical emergency, as it causes a reaction that involves your entire body.
If you are experiencing sudden symptoms of anaphylaxis in Central California, call 911 or get to a Dignity Health emergency room as quickly as possible. Our emergency doctors and nurses can provide fast, personal care with humankindness.
Recognizing Symptoms of Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat
- Chest tightness
- Rapid pulse
Loss of consciousness, vomiting and diarrhea have also been observed during anaphylactic episodes. Some people report feeling strange or the anticipation of something bad happening.
Identifying Anaphylaxis Causes
Anaphylaxis is your body’s reaction to an allergen — any substance that triggers your immune system into active mode. Some people are born with hypersensitivity to certain allergens encoded in their genes. Common allergens known to trigger anaphylaxis include:
- Foods such as cow’s milk, peanuts, fish, soy, wheat, and eggs
- Stings by insects, including bees, hornets, wasps, and fire ants
- Medications such as penicillin and other antibiotics
Treating Anaphylaxis at Dignity Health Central California
Anaphylaxis is treated the same way no matter what type of trigger causes the attack. If you have a known sensitivity to a common substance, your doctor will prescribe an epinephrine autoinjector. Epinephrine controls your symptoms while you wait for additional medical help.
Always seek emergency care for an anaphylactic episode — even if your symptoms begin to subside. Carry an autoinjector with you at all times, and be comfortable using it. Family members and caregivers should also know how to use the autoinjector.
If you have a child with allergies, we recommend providing an anaphylaxis action plan to schools, camps, and other places responsible for their child’s care.
Are you prepared to provide lifesaving care to a child in a medical emergency? If you’d like to be, take a Dignity Health Central California infant and child CPR class. For more information, call (209) 564-4384.
Dignity Health Central California offers timely medical care when you need it, including emergency treatment for anaphylaxis, in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.