1. Health

Prevention of Anaphylaxis

Tips to Keep You Healthy

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Updated: September 25, 2008

The next step in your defense against anaphylaxis is to try to avoid contact with possible triggers. This is not necessarily as easy as it sounds, though. Nut allergies can be especially severe. Even tiny amounts of nuts used in the preparation of foods behind the scenes can be enough to set off an intense allergic reaction.

So, one strategy is to learn how to avoid situations where nuts or other food triggers might be. Reading food labels can help. So can asking questions about how food is prepared and what's in it. Don't share foods with others unless you know exactly what's in the food and how it was prepared. Move away if anyone nearby is eating one of your food triggers.

Another trigger you may need to watch out for are stinging insects. If you are sensitive to insects, then it's important to know where and when to look for them, and how to avoid them safely.

As mentioned earlier, latex can also trigger anaphylaxis in sensitive people. Besides balloons, latex can be found in rubber bands, bicycle handgrips, pacifiers, and even rain boots.

Step 3. Protection: Fast Response & Effective Treatment Are Critical

Knowing all about anaphylaxis and how to avoid reactions go a long way toward keeping you safe from anaphylaxis. But, no matter how careful you are, there is still a chance that you may experience anaphylaxis at some point. So, it's important that you know what to do if anaphylaxis does happen.

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network teaches the "3 Rs for Treating Anaphylaxis":

  • Recognize symptoms.
  • React quickly.
  • Review what happened so you can figure out ways to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

You'll also need to know how / when to use epinephrine for anaphylaxis. This will require you to have auto-injectable epinephrine on hand at all times. It also requires you to know how to use it or to make sure people close to you know how to use it.

Sometimes people are reluctant to give epinephrine injections when anaphylaxis emergencies arise. But, keep in mind that when you weigh the risks of giving an injection unnecessarily against the possibility of death from delaying treatment for anaphylaxis, there is no question as to the right way to go. The treatment of anaphylaxis may not be able to wait until you get to the ER or even until emergency workers arrive at your location. When anaphylaxis begins, epinephrine needs to be given immediately.

Practicing giving the injection can be helpful when you lack confidence. One thing to keep in mind is that the best place to give epinephrine is in the front of the thigh, right through clothing if necessary.

As an added precaution, people who are known to have anaphylactic reactions should wear a MedicAlert bracelet.

Sources:

"Tips to Remember: What is anaphylaxis?." 2007. 15 Sept 2008.

"Fact Sheet: Food Allergies and Reactions." 15 Sept 2008.

"What medication is used to treat an anaphylactic reaction?." 15 Sept 2008.

Scott H. Sicherer, F. Estelle R. Simons, and the Section on Allergy and Immunology. "Self-injectable Epinephrine for First-Aid Management of Anaphylaxis. Pediatrics, Mar 2007; 119: 638 - 646.

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