Category: Allergic Emergencies  


Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Symptoms may include hives, swelling of the face, neck or throat, asthma (wheezing, difficulty breathing), lightheadedness or fainting secondary to low blood pressure, or gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or diarrhea. Anaphylaxis may be caused by a specific allergic trigger such as a food, insect sting or medication. It may also be induced by nonspecific factors such as exercise, temperature extremes or even viral infections. The treatment for acute anaphylaxis is adrenaline. Other medications including antihistamines and steroids are frequently prescribed. Most patients with a history of anaphylaxis will be given an self-injecting form of epinephrine.

If dizzy or lightheaded, lie the patient down, legs elevated to maintain consciousness.  Do not sit the patient up.  Wait for an ambulance.

Courtesy of the Mayo Clinic: