Learn more about serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) and how to be prepared.
There will be vacations and staycations. Sleepovers and family get-togethers. School trips and business meetings. Life is there for living. But when it comes to life-threatening allergens we do our best to avoid what we can and prepare for what we can’t.
For more than 25 years, Mylan has been helping people prepare for allergic emergencies that life can throw your way. Are you and your family prepared for that potential moment when an allergic reaction becomes life-threatening?
Enjoy the freedom to live each day with the peace of mind that comes with being prepared.
What is ANAPHYLAXIS?
Anaphylaxis (a-na-fi -LAX-is) is the medical term for a life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur within minutes to several hours after your immune system reacts inappropriately to the presence of a substance that it wrongly perceives as a threat. 1
What causes anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis can be caused by a number of allergens, including: 2
Examples of the more common allergens have been listed and is not limited.
- STINGING INSECTS
- TREE NUTS
What should YOU BE AWARE OF?
Having another condition can contribute towards your risk of a more severe anaphylactic reaction, such as: 2
What symptoms should YOU LOOK FOR?
It’s important to know what to look for, especially when symptoms could be life-threatening. 2
MOUTH – Itching, Swelling of lips and/or tongue
THROAT – Itching, Tightness/closure, Coughing
LUNGS – Shortness of breath, Cough, Wheeze
HEART – Chest pain, Weak pulse, Dizziness, Passing out
STOMACH – Vomiting, Nausea, Diarrhoea, Cramps
SKIN – Itching, Hives, Redness, Swelling
The above symptoms are examples to aid in recognising the onset of anaphylaxis. It is important to note that you may experience one or more of the above symptoms. In certain circumstances anaphylaxis can be diagnosed when only one body system (ie heart, skin, lungs, etc) is involved. 2
The pattern (onset, number and course) and signs differ from one patient to another, and even in the same patient from one anaphylactic episode to another. 2
How serious can SYMPTOMS BE?
At the beginning of an episode, it can be difficult to predict the rate of progression or the ultimate severity. Fatality can occur within minutes – that is why it is important to ACT FAST. 2
Be aware – an allergen that causes a mild reaction one time could be life-threatening the next time. 3
How do you REDUCE THE RISKS?
Avoiding known allergens is the best way to help prevent anaphylaxis
Know your allergens
- Speak to your doctor about tests which will help you identify your allergen. Possible tests include blood or skin prick tests
- Find out everything you need to know about your allergens and how to inform others about them
- Learn how to read food and product labels to spot a known allergen
Do everything possible to avoid them
- Make sure that colleagues and friends, as well as school personnel, family members, babysitters or anyone else who may be responsible for the care of your child knows what allergens you or your child needs to avoid
- When cooking and preparing food, take steps to avoid allergens
- Plan ahead when eating out or traveling—inform restaurants and airlines about any known allergens.
Although you should avoid your allergen at all times you need to be prepared for the possibility that you may be exposed.
- BEING PREPARED MEANS:
- Avoid known allergens
- Know what symptoms to look out for
- Use a life-saving auto-injector should a life-threatening (severe) allergic reaction occur 1
- Seek emergency medical assistance right away
Allergy Risk Test
Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction. 1 To help determine your risk, tick all the boxes that apply to you.
I had a reaction shortly after exposure to even a small amount of:2
- TREE NUTS
- INSECT STINGS
It included the following symptoms: 2
- Mouth: itching, swelling of the lips and/or tongue
- Throat: itching, tightness/closure, coughing
- Skin: itching, hives, redness, swelling
- Stomach: vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, cramps
- Lungs: shortness of breath, cough, wheeze
- Heart: chest pain, weak pulse, dizziness, passing out
Your risk is even higher and reaction could be more severe if you:
- Have had a previous reaction (even if mild) 4
- Have asthma 2
- Have cardiovascular (heart) problems 2
Take this Allergy test to your doctor to find out if you should be carrying an auto-injector to be used for anaphylaxis.
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References – Further Reading:
1. Kemp SF, Lockey RF, Simons FER, on behalf of the World Allergy Organization ad hoc Committee on Epinephrine in Anaphylaxis. Epinephrine: the drug of choice for anaphylaxis. A statement of the World Allergy Organization. Allergy. 2008:63:1061-70.
2. Simons FER, Ardusso LRF, Biló MB, El-Gamal YM, Ledford DK, Ring J, et al. World Allergy Organization guidelines for the assessment and management of anaphylaxis. WAOJ. 2011;4:13-37.
3. Pumphrey RSH. When should self-injectable epinephrine be prescribed for food allergy and when should it be used? Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;8:254-60.
4. Vander Leek TK, Liu AH, Stefanski K, Blacker B, Bock SA. The natural history of peanut allergy in young children and its association with serum peanut-specifi c IgE. J Pediatr. 2000;137(6):749-755.