Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that causes symptoms in more than 1 part of the body. This reaction can occur withing seconds to mintues of exposure to a trigger. However it is not uncommon for anaphylaxis to occur several hours after exposure to a trigger.
The ONLY treatment for anaphylaxis is Epinephrine given as an injection into the thigh muscle from an EpiPen. Epinephrine can also be admintered via IV infusion in the hospital. Please click here for a video on how to use an EpiPen. Do not wait until you have an emergency to learn how to use an EpiPen.
EpiPen Dosage For Children & Adults
Please be aware that children & adults have different dosages of EpiPen. EpiPen auto-injectors are available in the following doses 0.1mg/ 0.15mg/ 0.3mg. AVI-q makes EpiPen auto-injector designed for infants & toddlers weighing 16.5lbs- 33.3lbs, it even comes with voice instructions. You need a prescription to obtain an EpiPen. I have spoken to many people who have told me their doctor refused to prescribe EpiPen to them or their children even if they have had a severe reaction to an allergen. Do not hesitate to advocate for yourself and your child.
Symptoms of Anaphylaxis
I wanted to give a comprehensive list of symptoms of anaphylaxis. So I have compiled the following symptoms from American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, National Institute of Health UK & US, Center For Diseases Control and the World Heath Organizations.
- Hives / welts
- Passing out
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Hoarse voice
- Trouble swallowing
- Stomach cramping
- Pale face
- Flushed face
- Feeling like something is going horribly wrong
- Back spasms
- Fast heartbeat
- Clearing of the throat
- Swelling of lips, face throat
- Ckammy skin
My Personal Experience With Anaphylaxis
For me personally, I have found that if I have widespread itching, that’s a precursor to anaphylaxis for me. I have become very in tune with my body to know when when my symptoms with spiral downward. I used to hesitate using my EpiPen. I no longer wait. Part of my hesitancy was due to denial, fear and lack of education of what anaphylactic symptoms worse. I pictured the classic symptoms of widespread hives, facial swelling potrayed in movies like Hitch, and passing out. Not all anaphylactic reactions involve hives. In fact, I warn my friends & family to not wait to see hives on me to take action. I would be dead before they know it. I break out in hives about 5 percent of the times I have had an anaphylactic reaction.
Anaphylaxis is a life threatening emergency, therefore it is recommended to always have an EpiPen at all times. EpiPen usually comes two in a pack. Carry both with you. One EpiPen may not be enough to stop symptoms of anaphylaxis before paramedics reach you. What has your experience been with anaphylaxis? Please share.