Mild to moderate allergy symptoms typically result in reactions like watery eyes, a runny nose, or a rash. However, severe allergy symptoms sometimes can result in anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction. This develops from an excessive release of chemicals such as histamine and affects several body systems.
The four types of allergens that most commonly cause anaphylaxis include different foods, latex, medications, and insect stings. At Allergy Partners, our allergists can assist you in identifying your allergic triggers, discuss ways to avoid the culprit allergen, and provide a treatment plan in case of a reaction. In some cases, your allergist may recommend desensitization, or immunotherapy.
The symptoms of anaphylaxis can appear unexpectedly and advance rapidly. Early signs may include a runny nose, skin rash, or an unusual sensation within the body. If you believe you may be experiencing anaphylactic shock, it’s critical to seek medical attention immediately, as seemingly minor symptoms can develop into more serious issues.
Common symptoms of anaphylactic shock include, but are not limited to:
While the above symptoms can occur independently of one another, they may also appear during the four stages of anaphylaxis, beginning with an itchy rash or hives. The second stage involves swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat. During the third stage, patients may experience difficulty breathing due to narrowing airways, and may start wheezing or coughing. The fourth and final stage is hypotension (low blood pressure), which can cause fainting or even shock if not treated quickly. Early recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis are keys to successfully managing this condition.
Allergy Partners is committed to providing the highest quality of care for patients at risk of anaphylaxis. We offer various testing options to help identify what triggers your allergies and the best ways to manage them.
To identify your risk of anaphylaxis and confirm triggers, your allergist may also perform skin-prick tests, oral challenges, or blood testing to detect IgE allergen antibodies to suspected triggers.
These testing options help you have an emergency plan in place should a reaction occur, and they allow us to create personalized treatment plans that help reduce your risk of a severe allergic reaction.
Four Steps to Relief
Planning Your First Visit
Schedule an appointment at your local office and fill out our pre-registration and medical history forms to help minimize any wait time when you arrive.
Your First Visit
Your initial visit will last between two and three hours and consist of an initial consultation, evaluation, and comprehensive exam. We’ll create a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.
Diagnostics and Testing
We may complete one or more tests to better understand the cause of your symptoms. Common tests include skin testing, pulmonary testing, and blood testing.
Following the evaluation and testing, we’ll provide a comprehensive diagnosis and implement a personalized treatment plan that will deliver relief.
Treatment Epinephrine injections should be administered right away as soon as anaphylactic symptoms are suspected and EMS should be activated by calling 911. Your allergist can write an auto-injector prescription of epinephrine for you, so you can always be prepared in case of an emergency.
One injection usually suffices to cease anaphylactic symptoms; however, occasionally, two injections could be required to control symptoms if lingering or biphasic (second phase) reactions occur.
Other treatments may include oral antihistamines to reduce itching and swelling, corticosteroids (such as prednisone) to relieve symptoms, and inhaled bronchodilators like albuterol to open constricted airways. For certain triggers, such as insect stings or certain foods, immunotherapy may be recommended to reduce the risk of reactions in the future. Allergy Partners works closely with patients to determine which treatment options are best suited for their individual needs.
Some tips for reducing your risk of anaphylaxis include:
- Know your trigger
- Avoid your trigger
- Prepare yourself with emergency medication prescribed by your physician
- Wear identification to denote anaphylaxis risk
- Consult with an allergy specialist
The Allergy Partners Difference
At Allergy Partners, our team has the training and experience necessary to diagnose, treat, and manage allergic conditions, including anaphylaxis. Your physician will gather a thorough medical history and perform a physical exam to better understand your condition.
From there, they will order the necessary testing to confirm your diagnosis and prescribe the correct treatments. Together, you and your allergist will create a comprehensive and individualized treatment strategy to help keep you safe.