Anaphylactic shock is not harmless and can even lead to death. But what exactly is anaphylactic shock? What can one imagine by it? It is advantageous to be sufficiently informed about the possible shock condition. In this article, we answer all the important questions about anaphylactic shock.
What exactly is anaphylactic shock?
Anaphylactic shock is the severe effects of an allergic reaction. For example, if you are allergic to peanuts and accidentally eat some, then in the worst-case anaphylactic shock can occur. The technical term for the allergic reaction is anaphylaxis. But before it happens, there are many ways to avoid this allergic shock. Quick treatment is crucial here. As with any other allergy, mild and gradual symptoms develop first. Of course, it depends on how severely you are affected by an allergy.
Anaphylactic shock occurs much more quickly if you are strongly affected by an allergy and react very sensitively to it. A typical example is the allergy to bee stings. If you are stung by a bee and are strongly allergic to it, you do not have much time left before an anaphylactic shock can set in.
But what exactly does that mean? If the case really occurs, the affected person must seek treatment very quickly. Otherwise, even death can be the consequence. As a rule, allergies cause mild signs, such as itching or various swellings on the body. In the case of shock, it is much worse. Here, among other things, the airways can swell so much that the affected person can no longer breathe.
What happens in anaphylactic shock?
If anaphylactic shock does occur, several things happen in the body. First, the body releases histamine during such a severe allergic reaction. This causes the blood vessels in the body to dilate. As a result, the blood pressure drops significantly. As a result, organs cannot be supplied with enough blood, which in turn can lead to organ failure.
It is also not uncommon for certain parts of the body to start swelling. For example, an allergic reaction can cause the lips to swell. The lips start to tingle and become thicker and thicker. In anaphylactic shock, the same can happen to the respiratory tract.
The problem here is that they swell up very quickly and you only have a short time until the air is completely squeezed out. In other words, the affected person can no longer breathe and that is one of the most dangerous things about shock. It takes time for the swelling to go down again. But without a supply of air, a person cannot survive for long.
Now the question arises as to how anaphylactic shock can occur in the first place. There are different allergies that can cause shock. However, you do not have to worry that every allergic reaction will lead to a state of shock. You do not have to worry about mild allergies. Nevertheless, it would make sense to consult your doctor in case of allergies.
The causes can of course be different, but it always depends on the allergy. In the case of a peanut allergy, the ingestion of peanuts is the cause. In the case of an allergy to bee stings, the bee sting is of course the cause.
The problem with a few allergies is that you may not know beforehand that you are allergic to them. These include, for example, bee stings or intolerance to contrast media. Contrast media are often used in CT or MRI examinations to get a better picture. But if you have never been stung by a bee before or have never been given contrast media, you don’t know about the allergy.
Anaphylactic shock can be recognised relatively quickly by its typical signs.
Typical symptoms include the following:
- Severe itching
- Severe redness
- Airways swell strongly
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Fear of death
- High pulse
- Tingling in different parts of the body
- Nausea and vomiting
All symptoms can subsequently lead to unconsciousness, respiratory and cardiac arrest or even organ failure. In this case, it is extremely important to act quickly and dial the emergency number. Until the emergency doctor arrives, you may have to provide first aid.
Note: Our TarisApp can also be used to call for professional help in an emergency. People in the vicinity with medically necessary knowledge and experience can perform the important first aid. Learn more about our app right here.
Which allergies can cause anaphylactic shock?
The most common allergies include:
- Insect venoms from various insects, such as bees or hornets
- Medication, such as antibiotics or contrast media
- Natural latex
- Food, such as peanuts
What to do in case of anaphylactic shock?
If the situation arises that someone in the immediate vicinity suffers an anaphylactic shock, dial the emergency number immediately. Follow the instructions on the phone and give first aid. If it is not possible for you to give first aid, you can use our app, for example. With the app, you can get help from people who have basic medical knowledge. Because here, too, every minute counts and every help counts towards survival.
Allergic shock: tips
We have put together the most important tips for you should you find yourself in such a situation.
- Stay calm and try to help the person concerned.
- Also try to reassure the person so that they do not panic.
- See if the person has appropriate medication with them that can be used as
- emergency medication for anaphylactic shock.
- Many people who know about their allergy carry an emergency kit. Look for the kit and
- use it if necessary.
- Observe the progression of symptoms of anaphylactic shock.
- If respiratory or cardiac arrest occurs, initiate resuscitation measures.
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