The Anaphylaxis is a medical condition in which there is a generalized hypersensitivity reaction to a substance against which the person is sensitive.
What is anaphylaxis?
Every day we come into contact with thousands of substances without even realizing it. This does not happen with people who have a hypersensitivity problem, they know perfectly when they are exposed to a certain substance, since their body reacts immediately and violently, being necessary to apply a specific treatment to stop this reaction.
This phenomenon, called anaphylaxis, occurs because there is a sensitization to a certain substance, which is now called an antigen, which causes the immune system to recognize it immediately each time it comes into contact with it and it is activated abnormally.
Substances capable of triggering these types of reactions (antigens) include some chemicals, insect stings such as wasps or bees, or medications. Among the latter, those most related to the development of anaphylaxis are penicillin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and iodine contrast media used for imaging studies.
Food is also a major cause of anaphylactic reactions. Those most often capable of triggering these types of reactions are shellfish, pork, peanuts, walnuts, eggs, milk and some dyes.
How does an anaphylactic reaction manifest?
After coming into contact with the substance to which one is allergic, an activation of the immune system occurs that leads to the production of a substance called histamine.
This is responsible for all the symptoms that accompany these types of reactions, including:
· Itch. It is the most characteristic symptom that allows you to quickly recognize the presence of an allergy state. It manifests itself at the level of the eyes, nose, throat and on the skin.
· Eruption. Allergic reactions are usually manifested by a rash like fine pinpoint spots that appear all over the body and disappear when pressed, this rash is accompanied by a lot of itching.
· Histamine is a substance that has a dilating effect on blood vessels, causing the skin to become red and hot.
· Decreased blood pressure. This vasodilator effect of histamine is responsible for a tendency to decrease blood pressure in allergic reactions. In turn, the decrease in blood pressure leads the heart to beat faster to oxygenate the tissues, which is perceived as an acceleration of the heart rate known as tachycardia.
· Difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis reactions produce swelling of the mucous membranes, when this affects the mucous membranes of the larynx, its diameter decreases, which obstructs the entry of air into the lungs, this condition is what is known as glottis edema.
Shortness of breath is a major warning sign to seek medical help quickly. Airway obstruction can lead to death if not treated immediately.
Treatment of anaphylaxis
The following are the most effective ways to treat anaphylaxis from a medical point of view.
Medications to treat anaphylaxis
Allergy states are treated with antiallergic drugs, also known as antihistamine drugs, as they block the effect of histamine, the substance responsible for allergic manifestations. These drugs could be used immediately after the first allergy symptoms appear.
The established anaphylaxis is a more serious condition; once it is under way, more powerful drugs such as steroids must be used. These can be administered intramuscularly or intravenously.
In the case of shortness of breath, its immediate treatment consists of the administration of adrenaline, which is done through an injection that is applied subcutaneously.
Avoid contact with the trigger
Once a person is hypersensitive to something, they will develop anaphylaxis symptoms every time they come into contact with that substance.
This reaction will be increasingly serious, since the activation of the immune system will be increasingly greater, increasing the risk of a fatal outcome.
For this reason, avoid coming into contact with the trigger substances. It is recommended that people with this condition have in their wallet or behind their identity document a note indicating which substances they are allergic to in case they need urgent medical attention. It is also necessary that everyone in your immediate environment know it.
Treatment to desensitize
Allergy doctors can help these patients a lot thanks to immunotherapy.
It consists of a treatment that allows the person to be desensitized to the antigen that triggers their anaphylaxis, after which they can come into contact with it without the immune system being activated and therefore without developing these symptoms.
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