What Is Anaphylaxis?
- Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction.
- Different parts of the body can be affected all at once.
- The signs of anaphylaxis may not always be the same.
- Anaphylaxis is most often caused by foods, medicines or insect stings. It can be caused by other things, such as latex or exercise.
- Reactions are unpredictable, but usually occur within a few minutes after contact.
- Anaphylaxis almost always occurs within an hour after contact, but can happen up to 2 hours later.
- Antihistamine medicines will not prevent or stop anaphylaxis.
- Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Death can occur.
Asthma And Anaphylaxis
- Anaphylactic reactions can be worse if you also have asthma, especially if asthma is not well controlled.
- Trouble breathing can occur with both asthma and anaphylaxis. Asthma symptoms usually get worse over days. Breathing problems due to anaphylaxis will come on quickly, within minutes.
- Asthma inhalers will not work for anaphylaxis.
- Adrenalin (epinephrine) is needed to treat anaphylaxis.
Signs of Anaphylaxis
- Sudden swelling of the lips, tongue, throat or face
- Severe drooling or trouble swallowing
- Sudden breathing problems such as cough, wheeze or feeling short of breath
- Severe hives or itching that happen over minutes and affect most of the body
- Severe repeated vomiting
- Dizziness or fainting
- Keep asthma under good control.
- See an allergy doctor to confirm allergies.
- Avoid the things to which you are allergic. Always read labels of the food you buy and eat.
- Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector EpiPen® or AllerjectTM – It can save your life.
- Use your auto-injector at the earliest sign of anaphylaxis. Most deaths occur because of a delay in using the auto-injector.
- If in doubt, use the auto-injector (EpiPen® or Allerject™).
- As soon as it is used, call 911 or have someone take you to the nearest Emergency Department.
- Check your auto-injector’s expiry date. Replace it when it is expired. Review when and how to use it every month.
- Avoid exposing your auto-injector to extreme heat or cold.
- Make sure that family, friends and other caregivers know about your allergy and anaphylaxis plan and know how to use the auto-injector.
- School age children, teens and adults who are at risk for anaphylaxis should wear a MedicAlert® bracelet.
Click the following links for more information on how to use the auto-injectors:
Helpful links for food allergy information:
Allergic Living Magazine www.allergicliving.com
Food Allergy Canada www.foodallergycanada.ca
Allergy Support Centre www.allergysupportcentre.ca
Information for Kids/Anaphylaxis Canada www.safe4kids.ca
Canadian Food Inspection Agency www.inspection.gc.ca
FAAN Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network www.foodallergy.org