Anaphylactic Shock: The ‘Mystery’ Allergic Reaction that Can Kill

Anaphylactic Shock Case in QLDWhen 11-year old Ryan Hyde went home from a family day at the beach at about 7:00 PM, he immediately started ‘feeling sick.’ Ryan passed away at the hospital at 8:44 PM, and the cause of death given: acute anaphylaxis shock. He was allergic to almonds, peanuts and Ibuprofen, but according to Senior Coroner Zafar Siddique, it was unclear as to what caused the huge allergic reaction that killed Ryan.

Anaphylaxis and What it Does to the Body

According to Australia Wide First Aid, anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction triggered by insect stings, food products, and certain medications. Symptoms begin appearing rapidly after contact with the allergen, although a reaction is more likely to occur after a subsequent exposure to an allergen, as opposed to the first.

During an anaphylactic shock, the immune system sends a flood of chemicals that causes a number of changes in the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, these changes include narrowed airways, a drop in blood pressure, a weak pulse, hives or a rash, nausea, a swollen throat or tongue and fainting. In some instances, severe anaphylactic episodes can lead to fatal complications.

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First Aid and Treatment

An anaphylactic shock is always a medical emergency. When untreated, the person may fall unconscious or stop breathing, or the reaction may cause the heartbeat to stop.

You can, however, mitigate episodes by having yourself tested to identify triggers, and avoiding products that might put you at risk for allergic reactions. Carrying an epinephrine autoinjector can help prevent serious complications in an anaphylactic episode.

Write down details about your allergy on a piece of paper, and put it where people can easily find it. Include in the list your medications, emergency contact numbers, as well as the steps to take to help in case of an anaphylactic shock. You may also consider wearing a MedicAlert bracelet that contains all information pertinent to your allergies.