Anaphylaxis: What is it and how can you prevent it

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is sudden in onset and can result in death.  


SYMPTOMS: Symptoms of Anaphylaxis can include a cough, hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing or breathing, a swollen tongue, the feeling that your airway is closing up, wheezing and even hives.  Below we’ve listed more specific symptoms:

RESPIRATORY: Rhinitis Nasal congestion / drainage / itching / sneezing
Laryngeal edema Difficulty breathing / hoarseness / voice changes “Lump in the throat” / Bronchospasm Cough / shortness of breath / chest tightness

CARDIOVASCULAR: Hypotension (decreased
blood pressure) Lightheadedness / dizziness
“Sense of impending doom”
Arrhythmia Irregular heart beat / fainting
Cardiac arrest Fainting / coma

SKIN: Urticaria (hives) Itching / flushing / Angioedema (swelling) Swelling face, hands, feet, etc.

GASTROINTESTINAL: Bowel wall edema Nausea / vomiting / diarrhea / abdominal cramping
OCULAR: Conjunctivitis Ocular itching / redness / tearing
MISCELLANEOUS Uterine contractions Cramping / Bladder contractions Urgency / loss of control of urine

TRIGGERS: There are many allergens that can trigger this reaction and it is good to be aware of allergens to which you or your family members have severe reactions like: peanuts, shellfish, eggs, stinging insects, strong aeroallergens like perfumes or other scents, etc. 


 Dr. Hallett tells patients that they should consider doing 3 things if they think they are having a serious anaphylactic reaction:(1)  Tell someone that something is wrong, so that you have some help.

(2)  Take an oral antihistamine.  Benadryl should always be available and is quick-acting.

(3)  Inject epinephrine and call 911 … or go immediately to the nearest emergency clinic.  Do not assume that the epinephrine will work (although it usually will).  The benefits of epinephrine wear off quickly (10-15 minutes), so you want to have medical help available if problems return.

Because of the increasing cost of the EpiPen, Dr. Hallett is now prescribing the Auvi-Q, which is the same medication at the same dose … and it is usually covered by insurance (So, no out-of-pocket expense.  However, that does not apply to Medicaid or Medicare patients … they still need to get the traditional EpiPen.).  The Auvi-Q is also a very cool device, as it talks you through the injection with a little recording that is imbedded in the device!  It’s a great alternative to the standard EpiPen.  A lot of patients who need to carry an EpiPen will not do so, because of the expense, so the Auvi-Q is an excellent alternative. 

To find out more about your allergies and how to handle severe reactions, contact us. We’d love to sit down and discuss your allergies and options with you. 

Medical Center: 8285 Fredericksburg Rd San Antonio, TX 78229 | Lincoln Heights: 999 E Basse Rd #118 San Antonio, TX 78209