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Anaphylaxis – Overview

Til Jolly, MD Til Jolly, MD February 20, 2021


What I'd like to talk about in this segment is something called anaphylaxis. You may hear the term anaphylaxis, anaphylactic shock, or anaphylactic reaction. Essentially anaphylaxis is a very severe form of an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can happen for many causes, usually something you come in contact with or eat like peanuts or tree nuts, shellfish, getting stung by a bee or taking certain medications. Different reactions can occur in different ways in different people, and at different times, some can be very severe. Most aren't. If someone's having a severe allergic reaction, they'll sometimes develop a rash. They may have trouble breathing. They may have swelling in their throat and they can get a very severe drop in blood pressure and reach a point called anaphylactic shock that can be life-threatening. Fortunately, this is very unusual. The first thing to know is that if someone appears to be having an allergic reaction, or if you are, they should get help. Call 911. The 911 system is very good at managing this and can get you to help you need immediately. The first thing to remember, however, is that prevention is really the most important thing. Avoiding contact with any kind of allergen is very important if you know you're allergic to it. But once again, if you see someone having a reaction, activate the 911 system. You can sometimes start treatment right there on the scene before help even arrives with something called an EpiPen. An EpiPen is a very useful item.

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