Anaphylaxis happens when a child comes in contact with an allergen. The kind of allergen may be different for every child. Some of the most common causes include:
- Medicines, such as penicillin
- Dyes used for medical tests
- Allergy shots
- Bug stings
Anaphylaxis can happen in people without known risk factors. However, the risk is greater if your child has:
- Family history of anaphylaxis
- Had anaphylaxis before
Symptoms appear quickly. Anaphylaxis may happen minutes to hours after being exposed to an allergen. Symptoms may include:
- Tightness or swelling of the throat, tongue, or uvula (small, soft pendulum that hangs down in the back of your throat)
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Uneasy feeling or agitation
- Widespread hives
- Severe itching of the skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Heart failure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Lowered blood pressure
- Loss of bladder control
The symptoms of anaphylaxis may look like other health problems. Always talk with your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
A doctor can often diagnose anaphylaxis based on a medical history alone. The healthcare provider will look at the following to make a diagnosis:
- Any known allergies
- Exposure to allergens
- Description of symptoms
- Physical exam, including blood pressure
- Blood test results, in some cases
- Anaphylaxis is a severe and sometimes life-threatening reaction to an allergen.
- Anaphylaxis is caused by allergies to things such as medicines, foods, dyes, allergy shots, bug stings, and latex.
- Symptoms of anaphylaxis include: tightness or swelling of the throat, tongue, or uvula, trouble breathing, widespread hives, itching, nausea and vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and loss of bladder control.
- Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Treatment will likely include a shot of epinephrine.
- The best way to prevent anaphylaxis is to avoid known allergy triggers.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
- At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.
January 16, 2018
Chitra, D. Anaphylaxis in Children: Current Understanding and Key Issues in Diagnosis and Treatment. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports (2012); 12(6); 641-649
Blavias, Allen, J., DO,Brown, Kim, APRN