“My Kingdom for Epinephrine”
Anaphylaxis is a severe, sometimes fatal, systemic (generalized) allergic reaction that is estimated to affect up to 2% of the general population.
Causes of anaphylaxis include foods, particularly peanuts, followed by tree nuts, shellfish & freshwater fish, among others. Less frequent causes of anaphylaxis include medications and insect stings, such as from a honeybee, wasp, hornet, yellow jacket, or fire ant.
For the last several decades, there has been an increase in the frequency of anaphylaxis, especially reactions to foods.
It is an absolute necessity to be prepared and to quickly but calmly implement the necessary measures to treat symptoms of anaphylaxis.
How to treat anaphylaxis
The first line of treatment is epinephrine! If a person is experiencing any symptoms of anaphylaxis, it is absolutely essential that this medication be administered without any delay. Every second that the administration of epinephrine is delayed results in a more pronounced systemic reaction which can even cause death in extreme circumstances.
So, if you or a loved one has experienced a systemic allergic reaction, it is essential to be proactive by:
1. Having your physician properly make the diagnosis without delay. A prescription for an epinephrine auto injector two pack needs to be sent to the pharmacy for pick up without delay (if you have a child in day care, pre-school or school, an additional epinephrine two pack needs to be prescribed for administration (should that be indicated) at such a facility.
2. It is also extremely important that you achieve confidence in administering this medicine intramuscularly by frequently practicing with the provided trainer in the two-pack epinephrine kit.
3. Always have unexpired epinephrine readily available at all times.
4. If you or a loved one have previously experienced a systemic allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, it is highly recommended that your primary care provider refer you to a board-certified allergist.
The allergists at Carolina Allergy & Asthma Consultants are board-certified by the American Board of Allergy & Immunology and provide expert advice that will clarify the cause (or causes) of allergic reactions. They’ll also provide you with comprehensive planning regarding avoidance of allergic triggers.