Reasons Individuals Might Go Into Anaphylactic Shock

Out of all the possible allergic reactions an individual could have, going into anaphylactic shock is by far the worst and most serious. Anaphylactic shock, also known as anaphylaxis, refers to the state when someone's body floods itself with inflammatory compounds and antibodies that can cause many life-threatening complications. Symptoms of anaphylaxis including swelling of the face, blocked airways, hives or rashes, and even incontinence. If left untreated, anaphylactic shock can cause death.

Individuals who have allergies and want to steer clear of anaphylaxis absolutely must know about what might cause this severe complication. Get the details on the most common causes now.

Food Allergies

Perhaps the most common kind of allergy out there is a food allergy, and if severe enough, a food allergy can result in the individual going into anaphylactic shock in response to exposure to or consumption of the food they are allergic to. Peanut allergies have been on the rise in recent decades and are among the most common triggers of anaphylaxis when it comes to food. Individuals who are allergic to shellfish are also at a high risk of anaphylactic shock due to the severity of most shellfish allergies. If individuals have any food allergies whatsoever, they must make sure to obey an allergy protocol to avoid accidentally eating their way into anaphylactic shock. If their food allergy is a trickier one to avoid, one of the best pieces of advice is to always ask about the ingredients used in a dish at a restaurant before ordering.

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Medication-Based Triggers

Many of the most commonly used medications are also common triggers of anaphylactic shock. Some over-the-counter medications such as acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen, and naproxen have been known to cause anaphylactic shock in some individuals. In clinical settings, the intravenous (IV) radiocontrast dyes used in some X-ray or other imaging tests have been the cause of many allergic reactions. Individuals who experience any sort of allergic reaction to medication should consult their primary doctor and review their medical history. It is important to keep track of allergies to medications, as not only is this helpful daily, but is crucial for emergency room doctors and paramedics to be aware of.

Continue reading to learn more about the various triggers for anaphylactic shock now.

Exercise Behaviors

Many of the triggers of anaphylactic shock aren't well understood. Sometimes, individuals without any allergies at all come into emergency rooms experiencing severe anaphylactic reactions. In many of these cases, individuals reported exercising just before their symptoms started, and in some cases reported eating immediately before they started exercising. Long periods of exercise (between two and four hours) have also been reported as occasional causes of anaphylaxis. Due to this, individuals should consult a doctor before they begin any significant new exercise regime to ensure they aren't at risk of exercise-induced anaphylaxis. This is also why increasing the intensity of exercise gradually and not eating heavy meals before exercising is so important.

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Asthma

Asthma can exacerbate some health issues individuals may already have, and it can also put them at a much higher risk for other conditions and complications, including experiencing anaphylactic shock. For reasons that still aren't well-understood, patients dealing with asthma report a much higher rate of anaphylactic shock to allergies than individuals who do not have asthma. In many of these cases, individuals also reported respiratory allergies, which could be exacerbated by the co-occurrence of asthma, since both affect breathing. Patients with asthma should always carry an emergency inhaler such as albuterol as well as an epinephrine autoinjector to be used in the event of anaphylactic shock.

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Insect Stings And Bites

Another incredibly common trigger for anaphylactic shock is an insect sting or bite when an individual is allergic to it. Among these, reactions to bee stings are the most common. Insect venom contains antibodies that can cause some of the most severe cases of anaphylactic shock of any other known cause. Some individuals report symptoms such as itchy skin or swelling of the face and extremities immediately following a sting or bite. It is important for individuals who are allergic to bees or other insects to seek treatment as soon as they notice they have been bitten, and especially if symptoms like difficulty breathing begin to appear as well. Patients who are allergic to any insects should avoid high-risk areas and activities, such as outdoor recreation in the spring and summer, or just carry an epinephrine autoinjector everywhere they go.