What is anaphylactic shock?

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that some people will experience when they have been exposed to something that they are allergic to. This will cause them to go into anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylaxis causes a person’s immune system to release chemicals into the body which can then cause the person to go into anaphylactic shock.

What are the symptoms of anaphylactic shock?

Before going into anaphylactic shock, people will experience a number of anaphylaxis symptoms. These can include, swollen tongue or lips, nausea or diarrhoea, skin reactions such as hives, tingling hands, feet or scalp and wheezing or breathlessness. Any of these symptoms could be an indicator that the person having the reaction could go into anaphylactic shock.

What are the symptoms of anaphylactic shock?

People going into anaphylactic shock may feel dizziness, confusion, weakness, struggle to breath or suffer loss of consciousness.

As a nut allergy sufferer, I have experienced anaphylaxis numerous times and have just been lucky to avoid going into anaphylactic shock.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for my daughter when she was 6yrs old.

My daughter is also allergic to nuts and is an asthma sufferer, apparently, the two go hand in hand. It is the phone call every parent dreads, I was at work and my daughter was with my sister. My sister alerts me that my daughter is wheezing and she is quite upset and would like to talk to me.

“Mummy I can’t breathe.” Those four words in the most whispered breath sent me into a spiral. Luckily, they were a 5-minute walk from Chelsea & Westminster Hospital where she was instantly dragged through into resuscitation and pumped full of oxygen and adrenaline.

I thought my daughter was having an asthma attack, only to find out she had gone into anaphylactic shock from factory cross contamination of nuts in her plain chocolate. The tiniest dust of nut had sent her into anaphylactic shock and she was seriously ill, remaining in hospital for 3 days.

I think as a society we are having a drastic increase of allergies and it is extremely important for us to look out for the signs that we witnessing someone suffering from anaphylaxis, and ways to potentially prevent the anaphylaxis escalating into anaphylactic shock.

If the person has been stung by an insect it is important to take the sting out. Taking anti histamine can be very helpful. However, if a person is struggling to breathe you should not give them medicine that is taken orally. If the person is carrying an EpiPen, it should be taken. Anyone suffering from anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock should seek urgent medical care.

More information can be found on the Allergy UK website.