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Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington

Allergy and Asthma Specialists located in Winchester, VA & Chantilly, VA

Anaphylaxis is a serious, life threating allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention. Our experts at Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington offer individualized diagnostic and treatment plans so that you can take control. Call or schedule an appointment online today with our providers at one of our locations in Fairfax, Gainesville, Vienna, Warrenton, Culpeper, or Front Royal.

Anaphylaxis Q & A

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life threating allergic reaction. The reaction develops quickly and requires immediate treatment.

During an anaphylactic allergic reaction, your immune system is triggered to respond to a perceived threat. It deploys different types of molecules across many body systems to fight. As a result, your airways may narrow causing difficulty breathing and your blood pressure may drop causing your body to go into shock.

What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?

Unlike other allergic reactions, anaphylaxis causes symptoms across more than one of your body systems including your skin, mouth, lungs, heart, and gut.

Some of the symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Itchy skin rashes and hives
  • Swelling, particularly in your mouth and throat
  • Stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Low blood pressure and a weak or rapid pulse
  • Anxiety

In severe cases, anaphylaxis leads to life threatening complete collapse of the body systems.

What causes anaphylaxis?

Like other allergic reactions, anaphylaxis occurs when you encounter a substance your immune system identifies as a threat.

Anaphylaxis is more common in children with food allergies, such as peanuts, fish, shellfish, and dairy products. In adults, anaphylaxis can be triggered by medications (like antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), bee/wasp stings, and certain foods (typically seafood, tree nuts).

In Virginia and the greater Washington DC area, anaphylaxis could be due to a delayed allergy to red meat.

The allergists at Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington offer individualized expertise in working up anaphylaxis.

How is anaphylaxis treated?

Anaphylaxis is treated with a quick injection of epinephrine. It is critical to carry at least two epinephrine auto-injectors at all times in case of an emergency. If you use epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis, you should also call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Even if the symptoms start to decrease, they can return, and additional treatments may be needed for complete resolution. 

Because anaphylaxis is a life threatening condition, it is critical to work with one of the expert allergists at Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington to better understand your triggers and to be comfortable in leading a normal life despite this serious diagnosis. Book your visit by calling the most convenient location or using the online scheduler.