Anaphylaxis is a type of allergic reaction that is extremely severe, affects multiple regions of the body at once, and can be fatal. Allergic symptoms are usually just a nuisance at best, however there have been many cases in which a person reacts more severely to the allergen than normal. In these cases, some of these people were unfortunate enough to experience shock, and even more unfortunate some never woke up from their unconsciousness due to the anaphylactic shock.
When an allergen enters into the bloodstream either from being digested or possibly somehow injected into the body, a series of events occurs which leads to anaphylaxis. Most of the following symptoms involve the skin (e.x. rashes), lungs (ex. Suffocation), nose, gastrointestinal tract, and throat. Most reactions to allergens are minor, but those who react severely are at most risk for having a fatal episode. All reactions that are mild to severe should receive medical therapy.
It is not known how rare or common it is for humans to experience anaphylaxis. Since the severity of the reactions varies, some feel it is unnecessary to report that they have experienced anaphylaxis. Those who have an asthma attack are most likely to not report incidents since they can become quite frequent at times. Other fatal symptoms are often misdiagnosed as being another serious condition such as a heart attack. The key to allergens is to be aware of what you are allergic to, to recognize as early as humanly possible when you are experiencing anaphylaxis, and to treat your allergic reactions as soon as possible.
Anaphylaxis can be caused by:
• IgE mediated reactions: This is considered to be the most common form of anaphylaxis. The cells of the body will experience a sensitizing exposure, blood and tissue basophil cells release mediators, which create the allergic reaction through IgE, and the chemicals experience an explosive releasing with each exposure.
• Non-IgE mediated reactions: Also known as “anaphylactoid” reactions. These do not utilize the IgE immune reaction. The mast cells and basophils directly create mediators and create the same symptoms as IgE mediated reactions. No sensitization, however, is needed.
Here are some ways an allergist can help prevent you from experiencing anaphylaxis.
2. Allergy shots: common for insect reactions (ex. Bee sting). The person will be protected from the first 4 insect reactions, but they are not as well protected against fire ant reactions.
3. Pre-medication: this type of preventative treatment has been known to save lives. It is used in order to help the body prevent anaphylaxis to occur. It utilizes x-ray dyes inserted into the body to prevent the body from creating mediators during an allergic episode. There are other types of dyes that are also available.
3. Desensitization: this usually works if the person is allergic to a type of medication (ex. Sulfa drugs, penicillin, and insulin.) The person gradually takes the medicine over an extremely extended period of time. As the person shows no signs of an allergic reaction, the dose of the medicine is slowly increased to allow the body to become allergic-immune to the medication. The person must be monitored in case anaphylaxis becomes too severe. Not all allergic reactions to medications can undergo a desensitization treatment.