Coping with Anaphylaxis
The unpredictability of anaphylaxis is one of the most difficult parts of living with a food allergy. What previously caused only mild reactions can suddenly trigger a life-threatening reaction. Likewise, someone with a history of anaphylaxis may one day have a mild reaction to the same food.
If you experience an anaphylactic reaction, it is important to see your allergist. The allergist will review your medical history and discuss how to avoid the allergen in the future. He or she will also review appropriate treatments for both anaphylaxis and milder allergic reactions.
If you are taking medications for other conditions, your allergist will also determine whether they could interfere with epinephrine. From there, you can discuss your options.
Fortunately, deaths from anaphylaxis are uncommon. This is thanks to the effectiveness of epinephrine and a growing awareness of the seriousness of food allergies.
People at highest risk for fatal reactions appear to be teenagers and young adults who also have asthma and who don’t receive epinephrine soon enough. Research shows that many fatalities could have been prevented if this life-saving medication was administered immediately.
It cannot be stressed too often: Always handle anaphylaxis as a medical emergency.
What to Read Next
Food is not the only allergen that can cause anaphylaxis. Learn about allergic reactions to medication, latex and insect stings.
Suspected food allergies should always be evaluated, diagnosed and treated by a qualified medical professional, such as a board-certified allergist.