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Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a serious life-threatening form of allergy where the symptoms are rapidly progressive.

People who present with anaphylaxis can manifest difficulty breathing (wheezing, shortness of breath, throat tightness, hoarse voice, chest pain/tightness, trouble swallowing), circulatory signs (pale/blue colour, dizziness, low pulse, passing out, low blood pressure, shock, loss of consciousness), skin signs (hives, swelling, itch, warmth, redness, rash), stomach (nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea), anxiety or headache.

Lifetime prevalence anaphylaxis is one in 1333 individuals. In 40-60 percent of cases of anaphylaxis, a cause can be identified. In children, the most frequent cause of anaphylaxis is food allergy. For adults it can be an allergic reaction to some medicines.

Patients with a history of previous episodes of anaphylaxis and those who are at high risk (individuals with both food allergy and asthma), must have a treatment plan including instructions to take antihistamines and self-injectable adrenaline.

Recognition of the early symptoms of anaphylaxis and prompt treatment with injectable adrenaline form the cornerstone of effective management of anaphylaxis.

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