10 October 2019

Bee careful this Spring – how to look out for Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction, and can be life threatening – let’s talk about what it is and what signs to watch for to keep you safe this Spring.

If you suspect you have allergies to food, medicines, insect stings or other potential triggers like latex, it’s important to see an allergy specialist for correct diagnosis and information on preventative management and emergency treatment.

What is Anaphylaxis?

Allergies in general aren’t usually life threatening, but a strong allergic reaction can lead to Anaphylaxis. Preventable and treatable as long as symptoms are recognised and acted on, most cases occur within minutes, but can take up to 2 hours to present after someone with a strong allergy is exposed to the trigger. It causes your immune system to release a flood of chemicals which can send your body into shock — your blood pressure drops suddenly and your airways narrow, restricting breathing.
Signs of a mild/moderate allergic reaction:

  • Swelling of the face, lips and/or eyes
  • Hives or welts appearing on the body
  • Tingling mouth
  • Abdominal pain or vomiting – in cases of an insect allergy

Signs of Anaphylaxis – seek emergency medical help

  • Difficult/noisy breathing
  • Tongue swelling
  • Swelling/tightness in throat
  • Difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
  • Wheeze or persistent cough
  • Persistent dizziness, weak pulse or collapse
  • Pale and floppy (in young children)

Even if you are careful, you can unknowingly be exposed to a substance you are allergic to, and it is best to be prepared and know what to look out for in order to respond quickly to treat the symptoms. Have a plan and preventive measures in place and you can enjoy your spring with peace of mind!