Anaphylaxis is the most severe type of allergic reaction, often attacking more than one system in the body. Factors that cause someone to go into anaphylactic shock are ‘allergens’ or called ‘triggers’. Anaphylaxis can become life-threatening very quickly, so it is crucial to identify your triggers and effectively avoid anything that contains your allergens.
What Anaphylaxis Triggers Cause Anaphylactic Shock
Anaphylactic shock often occurs within 20 minutes of the initial exposure to an anaphylaxis trigger. Anaphylaxis is categorised as the rapid onset and constriction of the airway, breathing and/or circulation which results from exposure to something the person is allergic to consuming, inhaling, ingesting, or touching.
A multitude of factors are involved when looking at the cause of an extreme allergic reaction. The most common allergic triggers are:
- Venom from insect bites and stings
What Six Common Food Products Trigger Anaphylaxis
Below is a list showing the commonly known triggers and causes of Anaphylaxis:
- Milk and other dairy products
- Nuts and seeds such as Peanuts, Tree nuts, Sesame seeds
- Fish and Shellfish
Anaphylaxis From Venom In Insect Bites And Stings
Insects such as Bees, Wasps and Ants have venomous stings that can cause allergic reactions.
Anaphylaxis Triggers Can Be Caused By Medication
These included reactions to medications that can be purchased over the counter without a prescription, and those prescribed by a doctor. This includes the range of naturopathic supplements, vitamins and minerals.
- Over the counter
- Herbal/alternative supplements
How Do I Avoid My Anaphylaxis Triggers
Getting tested for allergies can confirm if you have sensitivities or allergies and what your anaphylaxis triggers might be. Your doctor can then give you the right advice on managing your Anaphylaxis. Understanding and eliminating allergens that have caused anaphylaxis in the past helps in avoiding triggers to a certain extent.
The Importance Of Monitoring Diet And Food
It is vital to remember that certain foods (even in a tiny amount) can cause a life-threatening anaphylaxis. Suppose you are exposed to or have experienced an anaphylactic reaction from a specific type of food. In that case, it is vital for you to cut that food out of your diet completely.
When Buying Food, Remember
- Learn how to understand food labels and what ingredients apply to your allergen.
- Reading the ingredients list carefully.
Look for warning labels such as the phrase ‘This product may contain traces of nuts, soy’ etc.
When Eating Outside Of Your Home
Ask the host politely about the food contents and its preparation. Also, remember that food prepared on the same surface as food that can cause allergic reaction can be harmful.
Allergic Reactions To Alcohol
Some alcoholic drinks may contain traces of allergens, like eggs, tree nuts and seafood. If a drink is questionable, you can:
- Read the drink label
- Ask staff or host about the drink’s contents
- Look up the manufacturer’s website to see ingredients in other products
- Call the manufacture
This will determine whether the drink is safe for you to consume.
Anaphylaxis Reaction To Bites And Stings
Allergic reactions are caused mainly by insect bites and stings from ants, bees and wasps. If you do have this type of allergy, then you should:
- Avoid things like flowers and pollinated areas, mostly in warmer seasons
- Avoid sitting on grass or places that may contain ants or ant hills when at all possible
- Wearing footwear that covers your feet when walking in areas that may contain insects
- Wear covering or protective clothing when doing outdoor activities like bushwalking or picnics. Bring and apply insect repellent but make sure to check the repellent does not contain any of your allergens.
- Remember, when eating outside, do not leave food exposed for too long so as not to attract insects.
If you have an allergic reaction to a bite or a sting, you should instantly and cautiously remove the stinger or tick. You should then immediately administer an EpiPen or adrenaline auto-injector shot (AAI) and call Triple Zero (000) in an Anaphylactic emergency.
Allergies To Medications
Some medications may contain traces of substances that could cause a life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Medicines can be a trigger for Anaphylaxis. This includes Over-the-counter medicine, prescribed medication and herbal medicines.
You can avoid these reactions to medication by:
- Informing the doctor, nurse or healthcare professional about any allergy you may have.
- Asking about which medications or medicines to avoid with your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional.
- Avoiding herbal and/or alternative medication when possible and get a clear list of ingredients
- Knowing which over the counter medications you can take safely by asking your nurse or healthcare professional.
Do You Know How To Give First Aid For Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe medical condition. The best way to avoid an anaphylactic episode is to have a management plan and always carry or have available an adrenaline auto-injector device, such as an EpiPen or Anapen.
Your management plan needs to be suited and tailored to your allergens and your reaction to your allergies. Your allergy plan can be made with help from an allergy specialist. An action plan will contain information about what to do in an anaphylactic emergency. It would be best to memorize your action plan and carry it with you so others can have access to it in an emergency.
If you are responding to someone have symptoms or signs of Anaphylaxis, use these steps:
- Lay the person flat. If breathing is difficult for them, allow them to sit up but make sure they have some support, such as a wall or another person holding them up
- Prevent further exposure to the triggering agent by removing it or moving the casualty
- Administer adrenaline through an auto-injector (EpiPen or Anapen). Note that:
- A child that is less than 5 years- 0.15mg intramuscular injection
- Older than 5 years- 0.3mg intramuscular injection
- Call an ambulance (000) regardless of the effectiveness of the injection
- Further adrenaline shot should be administered if there is no response after 5 minutes
- Administer oxygen and/or asthma medication for the respiratory symptoms to help ease the person’s breathing
- If breathing stops, follow Basic Life Support procedures.