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Anaphylaxis Preparedness Guidelines

Introduction

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that may involve multiple body systems. Food allergies are the leading cause of anaphylaxis in children. Children who have asthma and food allergies are at greater risk for anaphylaxis and may often react more quickly, requiring aggressive and prompt treatment. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention and treatment. Not everyone affected by anaphylaxis will experience the same thing, but common symptoms include hives, itching, flushing and swelling of the lips, tongue and roof of the mouth.

Epinephrine is the emergency drug of choice for treatment of anaphylactic reaction and must be administered immediately.

Pathophysiology and Treatment

Anaphylaxis can affect almost any part of the body and cause various symptoms. The most dangerous symptoms include breathing difficulties and a drop in blood pressure or shock, which are potentially fatal.

Treatment is centered on treating the rapidly progressing effects of the histamine release in the body with epinephrine and antihistamines. The allergen should also be removed immediately.

By Stephanie Chappell

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