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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Anaphylaxis - Life-Threatening Allergy

I found an excellent article on anaphylaxis on the AAIR (Asthma and Allergy Information & Research) site. Information and Research. My heart is beating faster already.

And much good informtion there is.

How can you tell if someone is having anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis usually happens quickly.
Anaphylaxis can produce:

• An itchy nettlerash (urticaria, hives)
• Faintness and unconsciousness due to very low blood pressure. Unlike an ordinary fainting attack, this does not improve so dramatically on lying down.
• Swelling (angioedema)
• Swelling in the throat, causing difficulty in swallowing or breathing
• Asthma symptoms
• Vomiting
• Cramping tummy pains
• Diarrhoea
• A tingling feeling in the lips or mouth if the cause was a food such as nuts
• Death due to obstruction to breathing or extreme low blood pressure (anaphylactic shock)

And a table of epinephrine injectors.
What is the best treatment for anaphylaxis?

Although there are several important treatments, by far the most important

Adrenaline (epinephrine)

There is one drug which will work against all the effects of all the dangerous substances released in anaphylaxis. It is adrenaline (epinephrine). For serious attacks, it is a vital treatment. You need to inject it; inhalers may no longer be an option.

There are special syringe kits to make injection easy:

Name of injection kitCountry
(incomplete list)
EpipenUSA, EuropeAdult 0.3 mg
Child 0.15 mg
Dey Laboratories (USA)
ALK (Eur)
AnapenUKAdult 0.3 mg
Child 0.15
Lincoln Medical Limited, UKIdentical drug & dose to Epipen. Easy to use.
AnaKitUSA2 doses of 0.3 mg: other doses
Red box also
contains antihistamine tablets and flimsy tourniquet (for bee or wasp sting).
AnaguardUSA,also available
As AnaKitBayerSyringe as AnaKit, pen-like container is compact and strong, no tablets or tourniquet.
Min-I-JetUK1 mg, other doses possibleIMS, UKSeems designed more for hospital use.

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