What is anaphylaxis? And why is it critical to understand the signs and symptoms? Anaphylaxis is a systemic allergic reaction that can be deadly if not treated right away. 

In a previous installment, we explained how exposure to common substances like peanuts, latex, and aspirin can trigger a severe allergic reaction known as “anaphylaxis.”Because anaphylaxis can happen quickly and unexpectedly, it is critical to recognize its possible signs and symptoms. They include:

  • Skin reactions, including hives and itching and flushed or pale skin
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Narrowing of the airways and a swollen tongue or throat
  • Wheezing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • A weak and rapid pulse
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

These signs and symptoms typically occur within 5-30 minutes of exposure, but they may be delayed for hours in rare cases. Remember, the allergen can be substances people use every day, and the allergic reaction may be completely unexpected. So if you or someone else suddenly experiences these signs and symptoms, you should not hesitate to call 911—immediately.

Other allergens and medications in the healthcare setting can cause anaphylaxis. According to one study published by the National Library of Medicine, anaphylaxis continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in healthcare spaces because healthcare providers struggle to promptly recognize and appropriately treat the condition.

Education, providing epinephrine autoinjectors or other alternatives to reduce dosing errors, and stronger safeguards to prevent the administration of known allergens are all cited as potential solutions to reduce anaphylaxis-related patient deaths.

Bell Law Firm represents clients who have suffered death or catastrophic injury in medical malpractice and other personal injury cases.

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